Thursday, June 12, 2008

rising waters

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I've lived the majority of my life within a few miles of the Mississippi River. Now with all this rain, I'll get to see nature exerting its power over humans, we, who would like to think that we control nature.

During the flood of '93, I lived in Missouri, but I was spending a couple of weeks in Illinois - one at a church camp, and then spending another week with a friend. The first week at camp was merely wet and rainy, with lots of places that I wasn't familiar with flooding.

I remember being in Quincy, Illinois, after camp at a KFC, and hearing over the radio playing in the store that the levy at West Quincy had broken. I remember stepping outside with my friend and her family, and seeing the billowing smoke from a gas station across the river that caught fire in the rushing waters as a barge swept across the flood plain and hit the gas station. You can still see a barge that was stranded more than a mile from the river front in West Quincy, Missouri.

I remember riding a trolley across the dam at Keokuk to pick up the friend's Dad from work - they lived on one side of the river, he worked on the other - and that was the only way to get across the river for a long ways. I remember at the end of the week driving across the bridge at Keokuk - the only passable road between the two halves of our country in a several hundred mile stretch, looking out the car window and seeing flood waters held back at eye level.

My neighbor, who lived here during the Flood of '93, has been telling me stories of their experiences of living for weeks out of work, and the struggles that their friends and neighbors experienced as they were flooded out of their homes for weeks. Thankfully, we live on a bluff and are not at risk of being flooded out (if were were to be flooded, there better be an ark around somewhere). But to see the communities around us evacuating with the memories of '93 refreshed in their minds makes this year's flooding so much more personal.


Anna said...

I have been keeping tabs on the flooding, worried about... well, everyone else. ;)
It seems there are at least four more feet until the flats are in danger, do you think that's about right?

Carrie said...

I haven't really heard about any threats to the flats - I might give a call and find out. If I recall correctly, in 1993 I recall sandbagging around the water treatment plant, but I don't know that it was actually that dire.

Anna said...

Granted, my experience was second hand, but I was thinking that the Nauvoo House was in quite a bit of danger. Although, I think that had more to do with the muskrats than the water.

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