Saturday, May 14, 2011

Come hell and high water

Most of the time, it's just a hill.
From my driveway to the levee

A nice grass-covered hill barely 200 yards from my my little cottage with the white picket fence. It's on my right when I drive east, on my left when I'm heading west; green in the spring and summer, a strange shade of tan in the winter.

Lots of people use it for exercise, climbing up to the top to reach the path for walking and biking. I don't go up there much because the section near us hasn't been paved yet. The terrain is rough and the rocks hurt both my feet and my dogs'.

So most of the time I don't give much thought to what's lurking just on the other side of that hill. Not until lately.

The Mississippi River on the left, my town on the right.




The Mississippi River.
The MIGHTY Mississippi River.

The very, very dangerous Mississippi River, swollen with record rains and snow melt and bulging against its grassy seams. Bursting in some cases, taking away homes and livelihoods and dreams.

And sometimes, I admit, I forget that it's there, just a few hundred yards from where I live, where my family lives.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Oh we get a kick out of the fact that we can stand in our driveway and wave to the ship captains some days. Until we realize, that's because the river is actually higher than our house.

But now we are remembering what that hill really is and why it's there.

And that's why today I am loving that little green hill we call a levee and hoping and praying that it is a well-built and very strong hill.

If it were not there, my house and all that I own would be part of the Mississippi River. Driftwood.



Last week they opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway, which is located about a mile from my house, unleashing millions of gallons of Mississippi River water on an unimpeded path towards Lake Pontchartrain. I even got to cover it for the newspaper, interviewing a bunch of school kids who were playing hookey.



Today, further north, they opened the Morganza Spillway to unleash more river water, which will swamp thousands of acres of farmland and many homes -- some in my hometown. To save New Orleans.

Meanwhile, all that river water is climbing to the tops of the levees that surround our little town.

As we hope and pray that the hills will hold.

The Bonnet Carre Spillway in Norco.







2 comments:

  1. Jeez, how terrifying and beautiful at the same time! That hill is just rife with metaphor...

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  2. Funny how we really do forget that it is RIGHT THERE! Looks like things are leveling off here, which is very good news.

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