There had been a lake here, over 1200 miles of shoreline, over 200 feet deep in some places.   A dam had been built which had flooded a great swath of the foothills to make the lake.   But that changed when the planet shrugged.   The dam collapsed with the quakes and the greater portion of the water flowed southward, adding to the rest of the destruction, and leaving the old river behind, still flowing.   A river valley again.   Revealing the landscape that had once existed, and some new features in addition, after fifty years of submersion.   This part of the country had always been riddled with caves and the action of the water over the years had opened many of the smaller caves into larger and connected systems.   Once the dust of the changes had settled those of us in our community who had survived began to explore the area, rediscovering the valley that no one alive now remembered seeing themselves.   Stories they'd heard from their parents of drowned farms, roads and cemeteries, a few smaller towns.   And the cave system that had emerged, large, several caverns of various sizes connected by passages, or just close to each other on a natural ridge path along the north side of the valley.   In a county that had once numbered a population of just over sixteen thousand there were fewer than a hundred of us left and many of them younger ones.   The caves were perfect.

No one knew of course how stable they might actually be, none of us had that kind of knowledge, but it was a general consensus that since they'd survived the natural disasters maybe they'd survive for awhile longer.   There were abandoned homes and farmsteads too numerous to count.. but the emptiness and memories were too eerie and fresh, the caves were easier emotionally, if not physically.   It took the better part of the first two years of work to make them habitable, and a bit more for them to actually become more comfortable to live in.   By the time the memories weren't so stark we were already accustomed to the cave community.   Some chose to return above ground but most were satisfied with the feeling of safety the caves afforded them - as illusory as that quality might realistically be.   The river for transport, the valley floor providing rich soil for growing things and grassland to pasture livestock, our small community had fared better than might have been expected after the upheaval.   Having been a rural community we still had members with that kind of working knowledge, and there were a few others with other basic skills.   New comers had drifted in and decided to settle and they brought skills of their own.

After nearly ten years, we have a home here.

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