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I'd Be Painting Now, But My Town is Flooding

"A Before the Flood" Painting by Artist Colleen Ross

by SDSD Columnist Colleen Ross
Column #1, January 1st, 2006

The news was filled with the flooding that took place just about half mile from our home in Fairfax (and around the corner to down town San Anselmo, near San Francisco). Astonishing, rushing giant walls of water filled with mud, trees, and all the things one might have in a yard---including a basketball stand and hoop--- were traveling at an alarming velocity to downtown via the canals, and streets to San Anselmo around 3:00 am New Year’s eve; water depth about five to six feet inside of the stores, and 30 feet above normal creek level pouring through windows destroying everything in its path.

Many businesses must close. I live a block from down town San Anselmo and am located on the street that goes to Fairfax. Neighboring homes across the street from us, had their first floors flooded with mud. Fairfax lost some homes to hillside mud slides jammed with enormous old trees and casualties of anything else in its path.

With many alarms thru that night before last, I felt safe and sound. Quite late in the day, I took a walk to check out my town. The grass was mangled, and embedded deeply with yard pots to shoes. Not until the night news did I understand what had happened. Many businesses will need to close due to the devastation, and certainly, our little downtown will come back and be defined with new stores and a new history added.

Nearby, also, Levees broke in Novato with floods taking over---about 20 minutes from here, and Napa and many others are still under water. Still, our home had no sign of being touched by danger.

2006 will be remembered long for this. Just as when we moved here in the mid 80’s, we saw historical pictures of row boats in down town Mill Valley for their floods. I will remember it for something a bit differently.

I will remember 2006 as the first day towards understanding more about so many things on different levels that includes a new focus on the facts that we are all survivors........any of us alive have something very special inside...the will to see another day, to hold onto counting how fortunate we are to have a friend, a roof, food or how we can/do help and make a difference in other's lives. 2006 can be the best year ever by how well we remember we are all sharing this space in time and while “here” we can choose to make surviving an event worth noting!

Colleen Ross

later that day....

BOY, OUR TOWN IS JUST BROKEN. This is the same town George Lucas lives in. One mile from my house is Sean Penn. Many people do not like him…I have seen him many times around and he is a neat guy…artist to the max…I respect him……And then a hard working store owner I know here and there struggling…and then this. Getting to see it all twice now, talk to many about their experience….shocking really….I am so grateful that I escaped getting in a mess with it. One young woman was stranded on her car …and a very risky dangerous rescue was made. I hear the flood hits hard, fast and was completely a shock. Can you imagine the creek going through town down low normally and raising over 30 feet in a flash….that poured into the store windows…along with flood waters coming from another direction….it will be most likely a week of cleaning.

I will go to a shop to help tomorrow to clean it. love, c

* Colleen Ross is an artist of international reknown. Ross's paintings are collected by many in Hollywood and the International set. You can learn more about Ross's art by visiting www.colleenross.com .

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