Backpacking season has been interrupted by a historic flash flooding event. It’s monsoon season here in Louisiana!
The comfortable, moderate temperatures that allow me to get out and play in the woods all winter are beginning to rise, and the rains are coming down by buckets and barrels. Last night I was awakened by a couple of emergency broadcast messages, and I lay awake listening to the rain. Grateful that I have a roof over my head that doesn’t leak, I listened to the sound of the water running over my shingles as if a heavenly faucet was turned on over the Deep South. Would someone please turn off that damned faucet? Didn’t your Momma teach you nuttin’?
When I was a little girl, we played in the field beside my house after rains like this. The ground is saturated because it’s so wet down here anyway, but there are times that it rains and rains and rains like it’s never going to stop until we all float down to the ocean. Huge puddles form in the ditches and in the lower spaces in the yards, and the four of us kids would put on our swimsuits and slip and slide. Eventually, the swimsuits would give way, and we’d be little naked country kids covered in grass and mudsliding to our hearts’ content. There are pictures somewhere, but I don’t have any of them.
It’s not so much fun as an adult. It’s so bad that our workplace was evacuated around 1 PM yesterday until Monday. The office itself is not in danger, but people have to drive home through these swamplands and river deltas, and it can be very dangerous. I had a conference call scheduled with a faculty member yesterday at 1 PM, and she called about an hour before to let me know that water was coming in her house, and she wouldn’t be able to do it. I told her I thought that was a good enough excuse, and she should reschedule at a drier time.
The issue compounds itself down here where the rivers, creeks and ditches flow into the Mississippi, and the Mississippi, already swollen with northern snowmelt, rises even further. This week’s event is flash flooding, so on top of regular river rise, there are monsoon rains. We’ll have the flash flooding, and the small rivers will rise before they eventually empty out into the Mississippi and larger water basins. There’s water, water everywhere, and I don’t know if you’d want to drink it.
A picture Daddy took for the newspaper was circulating on Facebook yesterday of my cousin’s house in Watson during one of the spring floods on the Amite River. They lived just up a 25-foot cliff from the river. Most days were spent playing on the river, swimming and enjoying the scenery, but, on not so infrequent occasions, the river would rise. I was fascinated by it, living in a subdivision where the only water came from the sky. Their long driveway submerged before they realized the river was rising, and they’d have to hang their cars in trees and put everything up as high as they could. (At least that’s the story I was told.) If it got too high, they’d paddle out to safety. Their house was on stilts which they kept raising higher and higher, but at least once they got tons of water in their house. Momma helped clean up and complained about the disgusting stinky mud and snakes all over the place.
This dog found a high spot and ended up on the evening news…
Today we have better forecasts, so we know this stuff is going to happen, but it’s still a mess. You just can’t stop Mother Nature. My biggest complaint is that I’m bored to death with no work, no ability to get outside and most things closed or just hard to reach. But many others have much more significant issues. My prayers go out to them today. We have more rain coming tonight.
My friend Blake posted a YouTube video of Led Zeppelin’s song “When the Levee Breaks,” and I looked up the history. It was a blues song originally sung by Memphis Minnie, and it was written during the historic flood in 1927. Click here for the history and a video of the original version. Back then there were no forecasts or internet or ability to know what would happen. You just waited to see how high the water would rise and if the levee would break. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss did their own rendition of the popular Led Zeppelin song, and it’s my favorite version. I heard it live in an amphitheater on the banks of the Mississippi River in Memphis with the levee looming up behind them.
Sunday’s forecast calls for “abundant sunshine.” I wish there was a way to funnel all of this wet stuff to California. It seems unfair that some of us get more than we need and others sit parched looking on in disbelief. But, we live in the swamps down here. As the saying goes, “the water has to go somewhere”. And HERE is where it goes.
Would someone please turn the damned faucet off?