Friday, May 15, 2009

So, What Happens when a Creek isn't a Creek anymore?

I'm a creature of habits. Each morning I awaken, make a pit stop, put on a pot of coffee, and open the front door to check out how the garden has grown overnight. On this particular morning I look out, and seeing the raging torrent the creek has become, my first thought is, "OH SHIT!"

Then I become a wooden statue, watching in disbelief as the creek rushes over the banks and creeps inexorably up the yard towards the garden... and from the depths of stored memories flashes that old childhood nighttime ghost story, "I'm on the first step... I'm on the second step..." (Hey... at least it wasn't "The Hook" coming for me, but I didn't think of that at the time!)

When I can finally move again I go inside to fetch the camera, the now-brewing coffee completely forgotten. I slosh back outside and take a few photos, come back inside and discuss options with my sister. How high might it rise? How long? Will it get up to the house? If it does, can we get over to the road? Will the road flood? Of course we have no answers. We haven't lived here long enough to have a history with the creek and flooding.

All the while, my mind has a second track running: What about the garden? All my newly planted fruit trees and shrubs aren't anchored by new roots yet... will they be swept away? The long rows of shallots and garlic planted last fall, and lovingly tended all spring are in danger of flooding. Will they rot? Will I lose an entire year invested in growing shallots and garlic? Will I have any garden left at all?

I go back outside and take more pictures. It's been 15 minutes; the water is still rising and it's still raining. My sister laughs at me. (She is NOT a gardener.) Finally I remember the coffee; strangely, it has no taste this morning. This scenario is repeated every 15 minutes for an hour and a half, when I finally decide to go for a ride out of sheer frustration. There is no way to stop the creek from rising, and fretting has no effect except to make me crazy. Crazier.

I drive up the interstate with a gardening friend, leaving the rain behind, to visit an organic farm to check out their new solar greenhouse, forgetting for a time about my rising creek.

The gods smiled while I was gone, and the creek only rose halfway into my raspberry beds. The new fruit trees and shrubs are still in place; the shallots and garlic are above water. I think I can still garden along the creek.

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