Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When the Water Comes

Back in 2001 I walked into a house and wondered if I could ever really talk them into selling it to me. I scolded the Real Estate Agent for telling me there was a pond beside the house when clearly there was no water, well, very little water, in the damn thing. Five years later it flooded and I lost part of my back yard for a year, and I also lost Bert in the water. He grew gills and hunted catfish. That dog loved water more than he liked dry land. But since 2006 we haven’t had as much water in the pond and it has gotten very weedy and even trees have started growing in it. Until now, that is.

Last year was a fairly wet year and the pond didn’t shrink down very much and this year it’s rained a good bit already. Last night we got hit with about five inches of rain in less than twelve hours. The pond is beginning to creep out of the deep spots and starting to invade the low lying areas, like my firepit. It’s a swimming pool right now. There is zero chance of a fire right now, even using thermite.

A couple of years ago the mosquitoes were so bad I was using a baseball bat to knock them down so the dogs could finish them off. There were billions of them and I’m afraid we’re heading back into the billions and billions territory again. On the upside when the mosquitoes begin to swarm so does everything else on earth that feeds on them. It ought to be a good year for frogs and dragonflies. And DEET.

As the water rises I see fewer snakes. Surprised? Think of it like this; snakes who live in or near the water feel safer in or near the water. In dry times they have to come onto dry land to travel and they tend to travel more when there is less water. More water means less time on dry land which means they aren’t around my house. But it was in 2006 the Night of the Armadillo saw me lying on the ground near a smallish venomous snake wondering how I managed not to be bitten.

It’s a thought most people won’t have more than once or twice in their lives but I’ve succeeded in having that thought on a reoccurring basis even though I have given up catching venomous reptiles as proof of life. There are those of us who simply do not believe venomous snakes are all that dangerous in the first place and then there are those of us whose bodies twitch when there’s a photo of a snake in a book or on a computer screen. I’ve been tagged up by a few dozen different species on nonvenomous snakes and so I know how to move when a snake looks like there might be a biting party about to begin. I truly do not consider venomous snakes to be as dangerous as water.

We’re less than two months away from hurricane season. This means that if we get a very wet tropical storm early then I’ll be leaving my truck out beside the road and wading to it in the morning. The pond will fill up, invade my property, then go over to the overflow pond, and then it will head out into the woods. There is as much one man can do about that much water as there is a lot of people can do about a lot of water. Water is pretty much going to do as it damn well pleases unless there is a dam. Half of Georgia was on fire back in 2007 and it didn’t look like anything could put that fire out. A tropical storm came in and basically snuffed out in one day what thousands of people had been fighting for months.

I’ve seen some things. I’ve seen a really big hole in the ground where there was once a bridge. A concrete and steel bridge, mind you, not a wooden bridge. Gone. I mean, really and totally gone. Not a damn trace of it remained on site. Best be moving when the water starts to. It is more serious than most people can believe. You tell a group of people there’s a snake in the house and they’ll all run out screaming like a bunch of first grade school girls who just found out how babies are made. Tell a group of people a flood is about to hit and they’ll want to go out and take pictures of the water. I’ve seen that, too.

You know, honestly, I’m not sure how humans continue considering how much trouble it is for a woman to have a kid. It just looks like it would be a hell of a lot more trouble than it could possibly be worth and meantime guys walk around totally unaffected by the process. A woman can be so sick in the morning she is down on her hands and knees, puking her guts out and making noises like a donkey on meth while carrying something the size of a watermelon in her stomach, and the guy that did his part in this thing could be out running a marathon and getting into shape. Meanwhile, it takes a while for a woman to get over the physical part of childbirth and guys? I mean, you can’t tell if a guy has had one kid or half a dozen because he really hasn’t had any at all, has he?

I kinda strayed there for a while, didn’t I?

But it’s a very similar thing, really, because when a woman’s water breaks you know nothing will ever be the same again. And there is no stopping that water either. No matter if you’re prepared or in a cab going over the longest bridge ever, when the kid comes the kid comes and nothing you say or do or think or scream is going to stop that. I kinda like that sort of thing; the sense of inevitability, the sense of focus, and that sense of proportionality that comes with watching something happen that cannot be stopped.
It’s proof of life.

Take Care,



  1. We had a tremendous amount of rain here Sunday afternoon/night. Since my town is on a plateau, no problems. However, 50 miles to the south, Birmingham experienced some serious flash flooding -- water was into the first story of apartments, and you could only see the tops of cars. Lots of creeks around that area, and they all went over the banks...big-time. Had been a long time since that was experienced there.

    I've always respected the power of water, especially flooding. A couple years after my late husband & I married, we had flooding in the southern part of the county...and being young and stupid, we had to go "see" it. I'll never forget the feeling of our pickup truck swaying in a short stretch of flooded highway. We learned real fast NEVER to cross moving water in that condition; lucky we didn't head off with the rapid moving water. --Cara

    1. Yeah,Cara, I tell people there's a simple way to find out if flood water is too deep to cross. If the bottom of your shoes get wet it is too deep.

  2. I have been so lonesome for rain. I had almost forgotten what it looked like and, even worse, what it smelled like. Then, this past weekend when I was away from my hometown, it came and teased me. But instead of making me happy, I was incredibly sad.

    1. We had a severe drought in 2007 after flooding 2006. The weather is getting weird

  3. August 1954, the 30ft wide 2ft deep Scantic River was a mile wide taking out several dams and the bridge. No problem there's a gravel back road over to CT. Ha ha ha, a brook running through a 12in culvert wiped out a mile of road with ruts 4ft deep. We were stuck of the mountain 10 days until they could get a Bailey Bridge in.

    1. We went through that in 1994, Bruce. There were some people killed trying to crossoving water that had never been there before

    2. I live on a flood plain, 3 ft of water in the living room, in '71. I bought the place in '79 and I'm still finding nooks and crannies with that fine clay/sand silt.