Levees hanging in there - photo by Robert Stehle

Yesterday, I worked for almost 14 hours in a makeshift newsroom on the 3rd floor conference room overlooking the valley. From up there, you couldn’t tell anything was wrong or that thousands of people were anxiously watching the river teetering over the levees like a water glass about to overflow. There’s the brief moments, the holding breaths – will it hold or will it fail? Ultimate suspension. I’m still exhausted from yesterday. The thought of being on a computer ctrl alt del F12 tab shift click makes me lose brain power and I’ll write later about the work and the newsroom and the chaos and the miswires, lost connections, difficulties we managed to overcome moving an entire newsroom with all our technology to a hotel room. But I can’t or don’t want to think about work right now. I’m glad we are safe, that we never lost power even though the city cut off gas and utilities downtown. I’m glad the water pressure boiling up from underground from a cemetery didn’t make the levee fail. I’m glad for all the people who helped brace the walls with sand and mud – who knows what would have happened if they hadn’t – the river already seeping through the flood gates cracks. I’m glad our friends’ house was safe and I hope the people whose houses were not can rebuild. How humbling to be at the mercy of a river. We are so small and will always be.

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4 Responses to Suspended

  1. Heavens, Rach – that photo. . . the reality of what you’ve all been dealing with made plain. I’m so relieved to know you and your friends are safe;humbling indeed to be at the mercy of a river. So many new conversations we’re having with our fragile and reactive earth? I do hope you have some time to rest today. It is still dark here. Candles are burning xo

    • rachvb says:

      Thank you, Claire. I almost don’t even want to think about all the chaos going on right now. On the same day as our flood there was a terrorist threat in NYC and more tropical storms are brewing. We’ve had an earthquake, a hurricane and a massive flood all in a matter of 2 or 3 weeks, I can’t even remember how much time as passed. It’s a wonder we are all OK. But she has to be telling us something. She has to. And still there are so many that won’t listen.

  2. Very happy to read that you are safe, even dry. News footage of the region looks anything but. Humbling, extremely. We should never forget where the power resides and it is not with us struggling humans. I hope there is rest, time for taking deep breaths and that taut nerves can return to some version of normal. You and your neighbors continually in thoughts here. xo

    • rachvb says:

      Yes, there are areas that are really devastated. Now it’s time for recovery. the river is going down as fast as it came, the streets filled with mud and debris. The levees saved many towns and made others worse because of the way the river siphoned into it, but it could have been a lot worse for all of us. I read this morning that if the flood gates they had on the bridges broke (which they almost did) there would have been a 12 foot wave rushing towards the town on both sides. Things are slowly getting back to normal. Yesterday and today I’m not quite sure what to do with myself because Thursday and Friday were so chaotic, but there’s nothing like laundry to get life back on track.
      thank you for your thoughts. xoxo

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