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Floods and Things of Inundation | davelovell.net
Aug 052010

another repost from before the web crash… writ­ten just after the Nashville floods

Over the past two days Nashville has tried to absorb more than 13.8 inches of rain, and failed.  Belle­vue has been turned into a lake, the Cum­ber­land River is threat­en­ing down­town and my school looks like an out­take from Waterworld.

My AP stu­dents are fac­ing their national exams later in the week, but school is closed to any­one with­out a snorkel, and no one knows when the waters will recede and life resume.

So I pon­der weak and weary…

The end of an aca­d­e­mic term, or the con­clu­sion on any long-term project that you may find your­self involved in can be very sim­i­lar to the slow approach of flood­wa­ters.  You plan, you pre­pare – but it’s not until the waters press the bul­warks that you know if you were ready.  Will there be a crack, will the crack sig­nal a gen­eral fail­ure or just become part of the story you tell later of how close a thing it had really been.

Flood­wa­ters are ever approach­ing, and the smart observer is ever mind­ful of his/her state of prepa­ra­tion.  But most days are sunny and kind and the moti­va­tion to pre­pare is not eas­ily summoned.

You knew that I would get to the metaphor even­tu­ally, right…

I just need a minute.”  A phrase in com­mon usage.  We’ve all said it, and we know the sit­u­a­tion that pre­ceded its use.  We’ve been flooded, inun­dated, over­whelmed – or at least it feels that we have been, mostly because we weren’t ready for what came at us.  But we prob­a­bly should have been.

At least three or four times a day, I think of some­thing that I should do.  Not some­thing that I have to do, some­thing that I just should do – to be pre­pared for some­thing, to get just a lit­tle ahead – just incase.  But I don’t.

Clean the gut­ters before the next big rain, get fresh bat­ter­ies incase the power goes out, fill the gas tank, buy some water, and on, and on.  But I don’t.

But floods and storms are just phys­i­cal things – the things I should really be prepar­ing for are not.  You can hear reminders in the inter­views they do with peo­ple who get res­cued from floods – “We lost every­thing, but we all got out safe… the house is gone, but we are all together.”  The ones that break your heart don’t men­tion phys­i­cal loss – “The house is still there, but we can’t find our daughter…”

There is no prepa­ra­tion for that kind of flood.

We know that storms will over­take us, and we know that we should pre­pare.  But today I want to remind myself to pre­pare for those other storms.

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