|The days of high water, which covered most of this island across from the cottage, left piles of sand in their wake. It will take several additional high-water periods—please, God, not quite so high—to wash the bulk of it away.|
I've been trying to get this post up for the last two days as I wanted to update readers on our situation, reassure everyone that we're okay, and thank one and all for their concern, well-wishes, and prayers. I appreciated them—and you!—more than you might possibly imagine.
The river is now almost back to its normal spring pool level, having dropped another few feet since Sunday. For the first time in several weeks, I can hear the big riffle in front of the cottage roaring—a counterintuitively reassuring sound. High water silences this riffle. I sometimes awake in the night, stirred by an unexpected lack of sound, yet certain before I ever push the curtain aside for a quick look, that rain locally or perhaps many miles upstream, has brought the river up by several feet…high enough to smooth out the churning riffle.
The nine stone steps leading down to a stone platform a couple of feet above the water's usual level are also visible in their entirety for the first time in days. As the river comes up, I mark its rise progress by these steps…one, two, three, four, five, nothing to be concerned about, six, seven, hummmm, apparently more rain fell than I thought, eight, better keep a close eye on things. When the water tops the ninth step, I begin to worry. From that point to the threshold of the cottage's doorway is less than a foot of vertical rise. Should rising water breach the threshold, I have a final three inches of leeway from the entryway level to the main floor. And at some point during those 12–13 inches, I have to make the decision to start moving things like the piano and furniture.
During this latest flood, the water came within a few inches of getting inside. The highest it's been since I've lived here, and too close for comfort. The worst part, from my perspective, was that last Tuesday, while the river was still slowly but steadily rising, I had to leave for an overnight conference in Columbus. I serve on the Board of Directors of the local community health center. Various registration and membership fees—to the tune of several hundred dollars—had already been paid on my behalf, from a limited budget that is carefully administered. Fellow members were counting on me and I took this mission seriously. However, heavy rains of 3–5 inches throughout the region were predicted for that evening and throughout Wednesday, with additional water to be added to a system already bordering on maximum flood capacity. Enough to bring the river up well past the critical point. I wanted to be there to do whatever I could. Yet I had to ask Myladlove to deal with things…and to make matters worse, she was in the midst of switching jobs, and had promised to train her replacement a bit before her final day on Thursday.
Somehow…a miracle…the predicted heavy rains failed to materialize—not only here, but anywhere within the 70 or so miles of upstream watershed. I got back late Wednesday. The river crested last Thursday, inches from the threshold. The only damage we incurred was minor—a bit of bank washed away, the stone platform at the bottom of the steps near the river tilted away from its foundation. Considering the ongoing tragedy in Japan, I shouldn't even be mentioning what a week ago loomed so large in my trivial and banal riverbank world. By any standard whatsoever, my life is blessed beyond measure.
Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all for being concerned about our welfare—for sending comments, e-mails, words of encouragement, for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers…for being the best blog readers imaginable, and more than that, friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you!