The waters are rising…

I wrote this a couple of years ago. It seems in every way as timely today, we are delayed by flood in our school day, as then…


This season comes around every now and then. Flood. We don’t really mark our seasons in the US as flood or rainy or dry, but many places in the world do. That kind of weather is sort of intermittent here. A huge storm (tropical or otherwise) can set in and bring on flood. There are times when those storms are much more common. But you can’t plant your crops by them much less set your watch by the phenomena here. Rainy, dry and flood make for good spiritual metaphor. I feel flood waters rising. You know that point where it has rained enough, the ground is all saturated, pools are forming in yards, the creeks are out of their banks – usually that’s when the rain stops and the waters begin to recede. But sometimes, it rains more, then more, then more…and things move and shift and slide and sometimes succumb. Flood looks like the least frightening of the weather phenomena, but that is deceptive. We have lots of thunder and lightning storms in the South, and lots of tornadoes as well. That kind of weather makes the hair stand up on your arms, it gets your attention, and if it doesn’t, the sirens that accompany it surely will. But flood is subtle, a building thing that comes continually and calmly, doing its quiet damage under cover of the waters. We had a “for real” flood in our little town about two months ago. The creek that joins up to the river about 1/2 mile down from Helena, rose maybe 25 feet in a hemmed in place. The creek bed is rock lined. This creek doesn’t flood wide and shallow; it grows tall and powerful. The great scooped-out space at the base of the falls was filling like a tea-cup. The waters surged just under the only open (non-flooded) bridge to my town from any direction for about day. I could only imagine the shifting, the destruction occurring underneath the brown, frothy waters. My children routinely play in that creek; they fish, wade with nets, catch crawdads and ride kayaks in those waters all the time. They have free run in the park aside it. But as the flood waters rose and we went down to see them at the falls, I could not help but hold the t-shirt backs of my children who stood ten feet away from what was becoming the bank. I was shaken; people came and stared. There wasn’t much to say above the never before heard roar. It scared me; I wondered what would remain, what would stand in its former place. I went back a week or two ago. Plastic trash bags flag the trees twenty feet above the settled waters. I don’t know how to get those down. All other debris was pushed far beyond the falls. Tomorrow, as we paddle, I’ll look miles down the river for the dead trees, as wide around as my arms will reach, that I saw bouncing upright like British style bobbers do in the currents. Flood is frighteningly powerful, carving wide and deep the channel of its flow. There was nothing living that could have resisted those waters. The flood of God’s waters is rising in me…(Buck Creek is never above waist-high in Helena.) But I feel the waters at my chest this very moment. It’s still rising. I could try to stand “my” ground against it. But it’s still raining and I know that another inch of rain will raise the flood waters feet. I’m about to succumb and secede. Nothing else can occur.


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