Men may dam it and say that they have made a lake, but it will still be a river. It will keep its nature and bide its time, like a caged animal alert for the slightest opening.
— Wendell Berry
I bought a rain gauge Friday and put it in the ground. From Friday to Monday afternoon, the gauge showed 3.3 inches of rain. There was another round yesterday, and my rain gauge showed another 3.6 inches since Monday. It’s quite possible I haven’t set the gauge in a good place, and we had high winds yesterday that could have blown extra water from plants into the gauge. But we’ve had a lot more water around here than usual.
This area typically gets about 20 inches of rain in a year—measured for some reason from October 1 through September 30—and last year (a drought year), we got just 16 inches of rain for the year.
Last week, as the storm approached, friends on social media began talking about stocking up on storm supplies: batteries, canned food, even MREs. The newspaper offered suggestions about where to get sandbags. I asked my husband if we, in doing none of those things, were perhaps a little too calm about what was coming, and he reminded me we’re high enough above the river that we’d be okay.
In the past few days, I’ve seen young coyotes and deer running hard for high ground, looking bewildered by this turn of events. Ducks have new ponds to swim in. The county has closed off parks near the river. And the river rages.
In some rare sunny moments these last few days—before and after the storm—I headed out with my camera to the river and a nearby dam.
Water officials began releasing water from the dam in advance of the storm.