Rain out the writer’s window.

Rain was innocent for me, once. Not any longer.

The river has a steep hill to climb to get to the house. It hasn’t made it yet. Someday it might.

Other neighbors have not been so fortunate: As recently as four years ago, the risen White left houses in need of gutting; yards full of sodden furniture left to dry—and to be picked over by less-than-honorable “neighbors” who showed up in vans to take their pick of the unguarded possessions.

A flooded river is an angry river. It tears houses off their foundations and carries them down stream. It scours banks and rips out trees. It unleashes auxiliary floods of “you’re living on a river; you deserve what happens to you.”

And it changes minds.

Spring rain was once a thing of delight for me; a thing one danced in on warm afternoons, the giver of blossoming trees and happy flowers, a place for eagles and heron and kingfishers and leaping trout to live. Knowing that those rains have so recently delivered the river to within 20 feet of the back door…not so much fun, any more. In flood, the river becomes a friend you’re never sure whether you’ll ever be able to trust again. Even when the rain stops, the runoff makes the water level rise.

I have never been here to answer the midnight “evacuation knock” by police. I wasn’t here when my neighbors had to be air-lifted by helicopter because the road collapsed. I wasn’t able to get in touch with anyone for nearly a week to find out whether my house was left standing. I wasn’t living here full-time. I am, now.

The weather map looks different to me, these days. The ten-day outlook is a forecast of dread. Rain? And rain? And rain again? What’s the percentage-possibility? What do the competing weathercasters think?

Today’s rain is a one-day event. The “heron rock” across the way is hidden, but the bank hasn’t been broken. The river isn’t coming up that big old hill anywhere near me today. Next week, the week after, who knows?

I don’t dance in the rain nowadays…I pack an escape kit. I get the cat-carriers ready. I wish I had Valium. I wish I could sleep until everything is okay again.

Welcome to life on the White. Wish me luck.

 

 

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