Posts Tagged ‘water’

When it Rains it Floods

The Art Tree

Little Treasures of Home

The first thing I reached for when the creek started rising, was a picture of my son at the ocean when he was about five years old.  It’s my favorite photo.   He’s wearing a little pair of blue jeans rolled up above his ankles, walking in the sand and looking down at the waves barely covering his small bare feet.

I placed the photo carefully in the plastic tub I was using to hold my most cherished belongings.

I wasn’t ready for a flood, but I should have been.  Along with my rental lease when I moved six months ago, I signed a statement informing me that the apartment is in a flood zone.

I didn’t read the paper I signed.  I was desperate for a place to live. 

An unexpected bed bug situation in an apartment my son had recently moved into interrupted my search for a rental.  Suddenly, my son was without a home and I had a deadline to find myself a place.  We were tired.  The winter weather was cold and I was in severe physical pain.  Neither of us were able to continue looking, so we each rented an apartment in the flood zone.

The rain started late in the afternoon.  I hadn’t watched the news and was not aware of pending thunderstorms.

My dog, Ruthie, tried telling me the rain storm was unusual.  She barked loudly as soon as it started.  My gut grabbed me for a moment.

I opened the door and looked outside.  I could feel something different.  The rain was loud.

There were two birds here that I’d never seen before.  Cardinals were rushing to the feeders, getting more wet by the second.  As the rain continued, the birds kept feeding.  Water had soaked one cardinal’s wings and the poor bird struggled to stay in flight.

I quickly realized that everything in my home means a lot to me.  I’ve downsized and what is left isn’t replaceable.  Anxiety set in.

Family photos, art and crafts that either my son or mother created, and my pretty wooden clock that my sister gave to our immediate family members one year for Christmas, all went into the plastic tub.

I wrapped my little sculpture of a girl holding a bouquet of orange flowers to her face that my mother gave me for a birthday present about five or six years earlier.

Then of course, there’s the beautiful hand carved wooden spoon that I love.  My son made it from a large piece of Cherry when he was thirteen years old.  Without using power tools, he worked for many weeks chiseling, carving, sanding and shaping the wood.  How in the world can something like that be replaced?

I spent the best of four hours, while the downpour continued, putting things in high places, packing them in the plastic tubs and lastly, unplugging electrical devices.  I packed bags of clothes and necessities. 

Management sent a messenger to tell tenants to evacuate the parking lot.  Everyone moved their cars to higher ground.

Anxiety had me distressed.

Image of Haw River water currents

Currents Meet

Then, my son came over.  He was completely calm. 

At first, I was upset by this.  I mean, how could he be so calm, I wondered, when our homes might be flooded any moment!  I needed his help packing, I thought.

I felt disoriented.  I honestly wished I could have afforded a hotel, but since I couldn’t, then I was planning on driving to my mother’s home.  

After several hours of packing and listening to the downpour, along with seeing the families of other tenants come and go, taking their loved one with them, fatigue was overcoming me.  I would likely have to surrender my pride and perhaps, accept the invitations offered to us by two friends for nearby refuge.

My son had earlier gone to the store for water, drinks and snacks.  While I was running around packing stuff, he lied down on the floor with Ruthie and whispered in her ear.  This obviously relaxed her and since she is such a sensitive dog, I was grateful.

Within a few minutes, Ruthie was lying on her back with her legs in the air.  You know a dog is alright when they do that.  My son gently rubbed her little belly and continued talking softly to her.  

Ruthie and I both needed what he had to offer during the crisis.  I suppose he needed it too.

The worst of the storm came at midnight. 

The fire department and Red Cross had waited for hours on the other side of the bridge.  They had a rescue truck in our parking lot.  The water started to seep into the front door when I called them to say I was ready to leave.

Ruthie wouldn’t go outside.  I would need help carrying her to the rescue truck.  I was beginning to wonder if they would have to carry me as well.

My son had disappeared just before the water starting to come inside.  He’d gone to check on his own place.  I don’t think he realized how bad the situation could have been, until he saw the water rise to the level of my doorstep.  I had begged him not to leave because the water wasn’t only standing in our otherwise grassy lawn, but by that time, there was a current.

I didn’t want to leave without him.  I waited.

Within about fifteen more minutes the water started to go down.  I had a feeling the worst of the storm had passed, but the rescue team suggested that we leave in case of another downpour.

The water level had gone down enough so that Ruthie would walk on the sidewalk.  Three firefighters were at my door.  My son had told them I needed help.

“Where is my son?” I asked the men.

“He’s at the club house playing pool,” one answered.

Apparently, he wasn’t alone.  Floods are common and expected at this property.  Management opens up the club house for folks to gather, watch TV and play pool.

Ruthie and I walked with the men.  They carried my bags.  They were most enthusiastic about their duty, which fire fighters tend to get.

I had only seen three men, until we rounded the corner of the building.  There were six more waiting for us.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Ten strong beautiful men waiting to rescue me!

Thank you for visiting dogkisses!

Note:  I was right about the storm’s end when the creek reached the level of my door and fortunately, we didn’t have damage to the inside of our homes.  I did not refuse the help when one of the men offered to lift me up on the back of their truck.  How could I?

Predictability

From the woods, I heard a gentle “hooo.”

Oddly, my insides churned.  The sound of our resident owl during daylight hours was unfamiliar

Normally, the owl would call about three minutes after sundown.  I’d grown used to it since early springtime, at least after the bird found a mate and from the sound of things at night, they had made some baby owls.  From then on, the calls were dependable and predictable, but hearing the majestic bird during the afternoon hours didn’t make sense to me.

I felt a pending doom, which I found curious and strange.  I let it pass, I thought, and continued to prepare for guests in my new apartment.

The Resident Owl Daytime Hunter

HIYA! I’M OWL!

I was tired and hungry.  My mood was fragile.

“How are you liking your new place?” one of my guests, John, asked me.

I was comfortable and pleased to see that I had arranged my living room furniture in a small circle because the intimate setting was perfect for the occasion.

My guests were friends from a small church where my son has gone for the past year.  I’ve gone a couple of times and attended a weekly small prayer group.  I like the people I’ve met through the church.  I especially like the young Deacon (and his beautiful wife), who will soon be a full priest of the small Anglican church.

My adult son and I met the Deacon rather mysteriously and most necessarily one early and difficult Sunday morning.  I believe it’s possible that our meeting him was a divine intervention.

The primary purpose of our recent gathering at my apartment, as well as my son’s place, was for prayers and a proper blessing of our homes.  The time was also, “Holy Week,” and the church members were reaching out to help people in need.

I was in need. 

“I’m having a hard time adjusting to the sounds and lights,”  I told John.

I started telling them about the owl’s soft call and that I had been uncomfortable that it called during the day.  Within moments, I was sobbing.

“I’ve never heard the owl call during the day,” I cried.  “I don’t understand.  Maybe something is wrong with the bird,” I told them.  I cried more.

John initiated the prayer time.  I was glad and grateful. 

He started a special healing prayer for me.  Each person said a prayer, and then I prayed for John.  He used, “holy water,” to bless each of us.

After we prayed, the elder walked around my apartment.  He said more prayers and sprinkled some type of salts on the floor of each door and near the windows.

My new place is in a flood zone.  Sixty eight families lost their homes in 2013, which is why the place was vacant.

The Deacon had a special water he used to bless the home and keep us safe from floods.

I can honestly say that I feel safer about the water than I did before.  I won’t leave my dog home alone when it rains and the floods might come again, but I believe we’ll be safe.

By the time the prayers and blessings were over, I was able to laugh about being upset over the owl’s timing.  However, the experience did leave me curious and a little concerned.

The owl’s calls soothe me, not simply because I like wildlife, but the predictability brings me solace. 

I get a similar feeling when I hear a nearby delivery truck every morning at the same time.

Thanks for visiting my blog, dogkisses. 

Note:  Since I wrote this post several weeks ago, where it stayed in my draft folder, a flood has come and it was not easy, but we stayed safe and my home was not damaged.  The grass is brown from the creek having risen like it did, intertwining itself, eventually into my yard, so that around midnight, my little corner where I call home was part of the current.

 

Into the Hills

The mountains have pulled on my heart-strings all Summer long.  I guess when the end of August approached, I felt an urgency to go into the hills, and so I did.

The Devil's Garden Overlook on the Blueride Parkway in North Carolina

The Devil’s Garden

Click on above image for a closer view of The Devil’s Garden Overlook

We first arrived at Stone Mountain state park in North Carolina without a reservation.  The trout-laden creek makes the area especially desirable to fisher-people (most of whom are men and boys).  The park ranger instructed us to keep driving north, which I didn’t mind too much.  The higher up we went, the cooler the weather became, and we found a nice little spot to camp. 

I’m not sure that the area we were in is specifically what the Cherokee called, Shoconage, meaning, “The Land of Blue Smoke,” but we did see the blue hue over the mountains and the clouds did look a bit like blue smoke.

My son and I went on our first mountain camping trip when he was only five years old.  I was pretty young myself.  We had joined a friend who was always saying that I should give camping a try.  He was right.

Oddly, after more than twenty years and many outdoor adventures later, I find myself longing for and returning to that same area of the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina, Doughton Park Recreation Area, where my son and I first camped with our friend. 

The rolling green hills and awesome views always make me feel like I’m in the right place.  Happily, my son still enjoys coming along with me to camp.

“What do you think would make you feel better?” my son had asked, several days before I decided to pack my gear and go camping.

“I’d like to sleep under the stars and wake up when the sun rises,” I told him.  “I want to feel the rhythm of nature.”

Little did I know that only a few days later, my wishes would come true.

We could only camp for a few nights.  Neither of us wanted to leave, but I hadn’t packed well enough to stay longer and was tired of driving to the store, which was twenty-some miles away.  Twenty mountain miles make for a pretty ride, but feel like fifty when you’re tired.

My favorite part of the trip was on the second day when my son and I had a heart-to-heart talk.  He was more relaxed than I’ve seen him in a long time.  We both remarked on the good night’s sleep we had each experienced.

There’s something about sleeping outdoors, feeling the wind blow, listening to the sound of nature without background noise and tuning into the rhythm of nature that brings clarity to the mind.  Perhaps Mother Nature unfolds a veil.

My next favorite part of our short trip was sitting by the fire, which was the night I removed the rain-fly from our tent, providing me with my second wish the following morning; an awesome view of the sun rising above the mountain. 

On our way home, we drove down to the creek at Stone Mountain State Park, where we spent the day by, “the small falls.”  We enjoyed local sour apples and tart blueberries.  My son and our dog rested on the flat rocks.  I chased a pretty little black and blue butterfly.

Water Energy is a Green Healing

The Small Falls

Butterfly Beautiful

Two children, a girl and an older boy, came to play and of course, they loved our dog, sweet little Ruthie Mae.  Everybody loves Ruthie. 

They were mountain people.  The boy looked about eleven years old. 

“You want me to take her down to the water for you?” he asked. 

Ruthie Mae feels my stress and one way she shows this is by pulling on her leash when we walk, which she’s been doing off and on for a couple of months.

“Sure,” I said to the boy. 

I trusted him right away with my dog, which is unusual.

“C’mon girl,” he said in a lovely Carolina mountain accent.  “C’mon now.  We’re gonna go right down here.  Okay?  There ya go.”

His way with her made me feel good.  I love seeing her happy and she was smiling.

I could tell he had been to those falls many times.  He had a sure foot and the younger girl with him did as well.  I liked him and so did Ruthie.

Ruthie’s enthusiastic walking didn’t seem to affect him.  He continued talking to her in his kind voice and down the craggy path they went toward a sandy spot by the water. 

“You’re really good with her,” I told him.

“Yeah,” he said.  “I been ’round dogs all my life.  I can tell she’s a good one.” 

For a moment, I could imagine him being a grown man and what he would be like.  I imagined a gentle man in the making.

He and Ruthie Mae didn’t get to play together for long because his mother’s cell phone wouldn’t work.  I liked that mine didn’t work.  I figured the woman had to be available for some important reason. 

After the boy and his family left, Ruthie joined my son for a nap on one of the big flat rocks by the water.  He made a soft place for her and she cuddled up next to him.  I occupied myself chasing the pretty black and blue butterfly that liked the sand.

I wanted to stay.  I mean, I really wanted to stay and I almost did, but I had responsibilities waiting and not enough money to do whatever I wanted.  I wish I could go back and stay for the rest of Summer.

(You can click on any photo in the gallery to view a slide show)