Friday, April 07, 2006

Watching the Flood Come

This past week, our community has been dealing with the flood of the Red River of the North. The Red is predictably unpredicable. Every spring we know its going to flood, but we're not sure how much. The unpredictability comes from the flat flood plain. It's like trying to manage water on a cookie sheet.

Usually when I mention a flooding river, what comes to mind is a fast gushing river, with a roiling wave of water rushing through a city, sweeping way everyone in its path. Those California "flash floods" seem so exciting. One minute you're having a picnic, the next you're being swept out to sea clinging to a chicken leg.

The Red isn't nearly so exciting when it floods. The Red comes to your house like your blacksheep cousin: it doesn't arrive when its expected, it stays too long, and leaves too late.

Our house is on coulee that leads to the river, (except in April when it leads the river to us). During the past week, the kids and I have been using sticks in the ground to chart it's advance up the sloping hill of our back yard. I thought it might help with their anxiety, but truthly, it helped with my anxiety. The kids hardly cared that the river was coming at our home, and asked me many times if we could go fishing.

Sitting on the deck in our back yard, sipping a glass of pino, and looking out at a lake where there was none just days before, it's its hard not to be philosophical. Floods are great metaphores.

Don't we all have floods in our lives? Sometimes danger come like the Red River. We know its out there, we can see it coming. Even when its imminent, the temptation is to leave the sandbagging till the last second. Hopefully someone will come to help us when we call.

Experience living with this river has taught me that its best to be proactive when dealing with difficulties in my life. What kinds of Red River floods are there in your life? What should you be doing to prepare?

Wednesday brought good news for our family. The flood has crested and has started to recede. Here's hoping the floods in your life will do likewise.

No comments: