Friday, June 27, 2008

Midwest Flooding

The impact of the flood of
'93 is still very fresh and vivid in my mind. The devastation was beyond imagining for those who only watched it through the media. For those who lived through it or were close to those affected by it, it was life changing. The flood waters at that time did not recede for weeks upon weeks. By the time they did recede, irreparable damage had been done. That was supposed to be the "500" year flood. Fast forward to 2008 and we are looking at floods of major proportion yet again, with the only saving grace being that it wasn't from all the rivers that had been inundated before - just a select few. Levee after levee has given way. Every time one gives way, a town or farms are demolished and yet it relieves the pressure for those on down the line. One has to wonder -- the levees that were built in reaction to the results of the flood of 1993 are numerous - how much have those levees impacted the newly flooding areas? Everyone from the top of the map to the bottom tries to protect their own individual areas, but each area that man protects causes the force of nature to move on down with even greater velocity.

I am not an engineer by any means, but it doesn't take a brain scientist to understand that when you try to adjust the boundaries of the mighty rivers, the water will win every time. The water is where it is for a reason. God's plan is not faulty. When civilization encroaches upon areas that are in the path of nature, nature is going to win every time. Living, working, and enjoying the water is second nature to those of us who live close by it, but underlying the daily life has to be the understanding that we humans are no match for the forces of nature that God laid the pattern for.

The devastation these people are suffering is heartbreaking. The endless work to try to save home and local economy is enough to break the spirit, but because Americans are generally a hearty people, they pick up the pieces and go on. It is after the waters recede, the cameras and reporters are packed up and gone home that the reality of the damage soaks in to those who must shovel the muck that is covering what was once their dream.

As our population continues to grow and we go into every corner of what used to be wilderness and carve out our spots, we can't help but realize that we are living on borrowed time before nature claims it back. Engineers, bulldozers and contractors may plan, scheme and promise miracles in "conservation management", but the end result is always going to be the same. No plan of a man here on earth is foolproof. There is nothing in this world that cannot be destroyed should God choose not to change the outcome. God doesn't bring this devastation upon us, but sometimes He chooses not to stop it and allows us to be reminded that we puny humans are not in control.

My heart bleeds for those in not only my own area, but those in all other areas who are being affected by the raging, angry, muddy waters of the Mississippi. I pray that God gives them grace to endure and strength for the battle ahead. The river is in the blood of so many who love it and all that it represents. For thousands of years, people have been drawn to the water for all things that support our lives. It has only been in the last few hundred years that man has presumed to have the audacity to try to control the waters. Obviously, they are not learning their lesson very quickly. The Native Americans and the settlers who originally lived by the water's shores respected the danger and were prepared to flee when necessary. It has only been in the last few hundred years with the industrial revolution and technology industries booming they have come up with myriad ways and trial balloons of controlling God's plan, to no avail. We must return to the former days of respect for the powers of nature and not put ourselves in harms way expecting that the worst won't happen, because invariably it does. For those who live in the tornado belt, we know that we'd better have a safety plan. Those of us who live in fault zones better have emergency supplies. There is danger from nature everywhere and one cannot avoid building or settling where there isn't something possible that can happen, but be aware of the danger and trying to control nature are two different things. Perhaps eventually we will stop trying stop that which is mightier than us.

1 comment:

The Savage said...

Good thoughts Rebecca!!

I remember reading somewhere of a country (overseas) with a major river (hence major flood plains). The flood plains were reserved for farming--the silt washed in every year majorly replenished the nutrient levels of the soil--without *any* threat to life and limb, because man respected the "forces of nature" at work as God designed them!!!

Why don't we Americans ever think that way?! Did you guys make it through flood season unscathed?