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©March 2000

Carol Jane Remsburg



Rushing Waters



When our backsliding low-pressure system turned into a surprise Nor' Easter without the winds but with all the rain the day turned out a more than dreary.  The clouds stood as stalwart grey battlements with anger to expend in the form of driving rains.  It began in the early morning hours with the drum that makes our beds seem all the more inviting.


Still, it was a workday, school day type of day where our bed can beckon us all it wants.  The alarm's call blares louder and we stumble out as if still caught among the ensnaring reach of the sheets and blankets.  The morning gets underway with our regular ablutions of a blistering hot shower followed by steaming coffee.  We wander about our morning duties as if still in a fog.  Our feet drag; this isn't a day we want to even address much less begin.


Once outside the weather is even less friendly than it looked from behind our windows and doors.  Puddles swell and soak our feet while the umbrella does little of its function.  The rain sneaks its way beneath the canvas shelter and the bus rolls up for our child to face another day of textbooks, teachers, blank pages and sluggish pencils.  Meanwhile, the old car tries to warm itself before its morning travels. 


It is a 'raw' Spring morning of the kind we remember from childhood.  The puddles don't dance and beckon, they wait instead for the unwary foot to leave you wet the whole day through.  Discomfort seems to be the highest note of the day as our fellows seem to bemoan the fact until we can't escape it by a vapid though fleeting daydream.


By noon the day should already be over.  The sky bespeaks the gloaming, but it was that same shade of pending doom at 10 AM.  The rain continues to thunder downward and the threat emerges.  This, the first official of Spring rains, is a torrent.  No parched desert could absorb the runoff, as this tidal plan surely could never cope.  The water begins to rise. 


All the newly greening grass in submerged by inches and the roadways nearly appear a haven until you reach the back roads.  With the workday over, its time to rush homeward back into that welcoming warmth we call home.  The house may still be in the disarray that you left it in this morning but its call is strong.  It's no matter that the dirty dishes await or the overflowing laundry hamper or the trash bin that needs emptying for those chores even seem inviting now.  Anything is embraced to return to our shelter, our final chores, and back into our snuggly beds in hope that tomorrow will not dawn as today did.


Still the ride home has held back it's own drama.  That shortcut off the highway and onto the back road to the school to pick up the child is met with an obstacle never before encountered.  The loggers have come and gone these last few weeks and the twisted roadbed is now inundated with water.  It's not just underwater; the water is rushing not simply moving.  The brakes hold and the car slows to a near stop for further inspection. 


While it's obvious that the water is racing, it only appears to be about an inch in depth.  The decision is made within an instant as neon warning flashes across the brain—WARNING:  THE WATER IS DEEPER THAN IT APPEARS!  The heavy, old wagon moves forward with trepidation, but forward it moves.  About halfway through, a reverse decision cannot be commanded.  It's forward or nothing and likely off the road as this water is much higher than an inch—many inches—and moving fast enough to take out a trailer and not just the ratty old wagon. 


Eons later that tiny stretch is traversed; curses and blessing abound.  A ragged breath is drawn as the car moves forward.  The child is waiting.  But wait, look, another car is coming from the other direction.  Primal instincts arise.  Lights flash, the car window cranks down in a flash and a stopping gesture is made.  Does the other car see it and stop.  The wagon slews to a stop and you leap from the car to stop the big old Lincoln from making your own mistake.  She stops and listens.  The Lincoln makes an about-face and you know that you've saved trauma from another.


When those waters rise and rush, listen to the warnings from the media and those inside your own head.  It could cost you five minutes of a turn-about or much, much more.  The racing, raging waters hold sway.  We do not.