4.16.2008

How High's the Water, Mama

I went out last weekend and took pictures of the levee, to see how high the water is getting. I don't understand the 'convoluted' explanation of 'Flood Stage', (and at this point, don't wanna know, because I've heard it so many times, my head hurts), but apparently they don't consider it a flood til the water starts creeping up the inside of the levee. I always thought flood stage meant when the water was about to run over the top of it, but noooo. Being an art person, adding the numbers that they give for flood stage for any given city, to the feet the water comes up the levee, then subtracting that number from how high the levee is, (which EVERYBODY knows) to learn how much further the water has to come before it begins to spill over...escapes me; just escapes me. I went out to see for myself. This picture isn't the Mississippi River; it's the space between the River and the levee. Well, now the River definitely is creeping up the levee, and this pointed area, is pointing toward our house, which sits about a mile or less away, not to mention this farm and other homes. 'They' said, not to worry, because the water will spill over on the other side of the River, first, should it get that high. I think that's what they are saying, conversly, on the other side of the River. Since I took this picture, the water has been rising considerably, but I haven't gone to look, and I don't wanna go look, either. Well, I do, but I don't.
I know what a flash flood is. In western NYS in '72, we got the residual rainfall from Hurricane Agnes, which dumped 4" of rain in a 24 hr. period. They just can't take that much rain, having no bayous. It was the worst flooding in the area. We lived in an upstairs apartment, over-looking the Genesee River. The river was so swollen, it wore away the levee (up there they call them dikes, like they do in Holland) and undermined a major wing of the local hospital, which then fell, two stories of it, right into the river. It dug an 8' deep trench, 50 feet long, where our driveway had been, but although we had to evacute, of course, as a matter of civil defense, we had no personal damages. When you talk of 4" of rainfall up there, I liken it to the apprehension of getting 4" of snow falling here in the South.
Cappy let me know that we live on a 'hill', if there be such a thing here in South Louisiana, and that if the water did happen to breach our side of the levee, it would not make it to our house....and for me to stop worrying. So, I'm not. I've seen water do some strange things, that help bolster my faith. This is a picture of the house I lived in just before I moved to Louisiana. As you can see, it too, sits on a hill. The Genesee River lay about 3/4 of a mile to the west. I had only been moved in about two weeks, when it was pointed out to me, that there was a sump-pump in the finished basement, and "What a joke! The people who sold the sump-pump to whoever owned this house, saw them coming!" and 'hahahahahaha!!!!' followed by other belittling comments about the mental acumen of the past owners, for having it installed in the first place, and, so, unplugged it. Not two more weeks later, I awoke to find 18" of water in the basement where still unpacked boxes were completely saturated...ruined. It had rained quite a bit the day before, and for some reason, the drain by the road, backed up, and ran back up through the pipes into the house, unabated. We were flooded, living 'high and dry' on a hill. I'd call it an humbling experience.
Now, the house where I learned to have Faith, was where we had lived for a dozen or more years, on a fancy shmancy horse farm directly near the unpredictable Genesee River again. The area had gotten about 2" of rain in a short period of time, threatened dams upstream, and did quite a bit of damage. Bridges were being undermined again, streams were spilling over their banks, and the horse farm we lived on, where several families abode along the road all around us, were under mandatory evacuation. I kept praying and waiting for the knock on the door, or the dreaded phone call, telling us to, "get out now!" My kids were all in high school at the time, so when they called to ask me how high the water was, I had them stay with friends until I knew it was safe. (The school bus couldn't make it because the roads were all flooded, and I didn't want the kids driving their cars, through it either.) At that time I just kept reminding myself of Scriptures and saying them out loud to build up my faith. I remember my Dad doing that one time, years before, and miraculously it had worked. I saw news helicopters flying around; way up past the torrent, which was rushing across the road, I could see television crews all set up, and later watched all the interviews from that spot on the nightly news, from the safety of my living room. The flooding was so bad, it went on for several days. I never did have to evacute the premises. The owner of the horse farm, called to ask, "How come your house is the only one on the whole ranch that isn't flooded??" (It had been her home...she was the original owner, and in her new home, even she had, had to evacuate.) I just shrugged and didn't give it much thought until later when my photos had gotten developed. This picture shows how close the water came to the house, and stood for a week or more, yet not one drop of water even got into the basement.
Soooo...now, this week, I can go out and take a ton of photos of the River and get myself all worried, but this particular picture is the one I'm going to look at to remind me of how much I've really been protected when I Ask. I don't have all the Answers; I don't pretend to have all the answers. I don't know about everybody else; I pray for everybody else, but all I know about is my faulty self.
Even so, in the midst of all this, another humbling experience is going on. How high da water, you ask? 6" high and rising. Both my kitchen sink drains are stopped up. I tried everything. SparkyBear and I even got down under the sink and unwrenched the whatchamacallits, with a pot underneath to catch the water, but then it started spraying all over under there. Nasty stuff. I cleaned out the trap, but it wasn't bad. Wrenched it all back together, with my danged little fingers, and tried it again. It's still blocked, with water standing in the sink, so now, I'm gwinder be in the market for one of those snakes. Usually not what you want to encounter in the waters of South Louisiana, but in this case, it's what is needed. Oh Lawd, tomorrow, I'll have to don my bib overalls and John Wayne personna again, then swagger into the bowels of either Home Despot or Lowe & Behold for a sewer snaky. I wonder if they see me driving in, in Cappy's Jeep will lend any credibility. Ah, yes, my cup doth runneth over, but I'm still smilin'. Still smilin' here...
Post a Comment