Our neighborhood is a bit of a mess right now. Yesterday morning we woke to what some estimate to be the third 500 year flood here in less than a decade.
Sit with that for a moment.
It's often difficult to tell how bad the flooding is based on what we can see from the house. So yesterday morning when we saw that the creek (normally just visible from our front porch) was a churning chocolate milk river we knew the flooding was worse than we suspected. The four of us walked to the creek to survey the damage, then tentatively explored the neighborhood, checking in on some friends, and surveying the damages.
I found myself vacillating between being a child-like curiosity about the high water mark and the chilling reality of how serious this truly was.
One neighbor temporarily lost 40 head of cattle to the rising water. Immense beef cattle swept away (along with their fences), coming aground again on a neighboring farm a couple of miles downstream. The water was that fierce and that high. A friend found themselves caught in the rising water, their car swept more than 100 feet out into a cornfield, the river raging all around them. Thanks to the help of the volunteer fire department they made it out safely, but the what-ifs keep rattling in my mind. Not far from here a house was caught in a mudslide, killing the man inside.
Both Crawford and Vernon Counties (where we live and where we work) have declared a state of emergency. With roads washed out, driveways blocked, and bridges collapsed there is a good deal of hard work - and patient waiting - that still needs be done before life can return to normal.
But the snowplows and the road crews were out yesterday, tirelessly clearing rocks, trees, and mud from the roadways. Based on what we have seen, though, it will be a long time before things return to normal around here.
As for our family we're just thankful for the distance between house and creek, that the hillside above us held fast, and that the power is on and our sump pump is keeping the basement relatively dry.
Our animals are safe, our house is standing tall, and we're mostly just grateful that it wasn't any worse. And now we all pray that no more rain falls here for many many days.
And one more thought, no matter where you call home:
Every time I see the creeks rise beyond their banks I worry about E.coli, especially with children. Please, please be safe out there and do what you can to limit contact with flood waters. I know multiple people who have fought for their lives after contracting E. coli from innocent looking flood water. Be careful. We need you.
Stay safe out there, friends.