art courtesy of yellow fox
There wasn’t even a breath of air.
Everything was standing still. Even those little yellow flowers that sit on the almost impossibly thin stalks were not swaying the slightest.
I looked over at Janelle.
She was quietly looking at the horizon.
If there was a song bird in range, it was hiding.
I grabbed her hand and we headed down the mountain. It was the first day we had been out of our mountain top place in weeks.
It all began with the normal stuff. A cold front was coming down and it was going to stall. In the meantime a warm front that was pregnant with moisture was finding its way up from the Gulf.
The weather service said it would rain.
On the first day we welcomed the broad and sometimes quite heavy showers. It had been pretty dry through out the winter and some good spring rains would do us all some good.
On the second day, the rains continued. Early in the day, I checked my gauge and I had to empty it. That meant we had already received 6 or 7 inches from the previous day. By now, everything was soaked. More rain didn’t have anywhere to go but into the creeks and streams. The creek that always does get too high, did. But, then the other one that runs through downtown began to overflow its banks. The businesses around those creeks closed and did what they always do when the really big downfalls come.
By now, the town was pretty much shut down. The buses were still running but not on all routes. A lot of people in the country were officially marooned by the rising rivers. That night I told several friends that this rain was as a determined a rain as I had ever seen.
By nightfall, my gauge was full again.
Sometime during the early morning the surrounding soils just gave up and water began to just sit. Soon, it was beginning to trickle into my basement. In an hour, that trickle turned into waterfall. Not to worry though, I have a sump pump that will handle most of it.
“Max, how long is this going to go on?”
“I don’t know Janelle, the two fronts are stalled on top of us, plus they say another tropical wave is headed our way.”
Well, we knew things would get weird when the arctic ice melted, allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb more sunlight. That created a 10 degree change in Anchorage in less than a season. And we knew that the melting permafrost would add a lot more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and speed up the warming even more. And we knew that the bacteria in the soil was getting more active and converting more carbon in the soil thus making even more carbon dioxide. And we knew that this year the amount of carbon in the air had increased by 5 parts per million. Just 10 years ago, carbon dioxide increased annually by just over 1 part per million.
That meant that all the critical time estimates by the scientists could be accelerated fivefold.
On the third day, the basements had about a foot of water in them. That meant that the hot water heater pilot light was now officially extinguished.
Since it wasn’t really cool, the hot water didn’t seem necessary at first.
But it was.
On the fourth day, the electricity went down. I figured it would go back up in a few minutes, but it didn’t. By now, I wasn’t even checking the rain gauge. It was more than full every 12 hours or so now. That meant that we were getting close to our annual average rainfall in just four days.
On the fifth day, water was everywhere. Streets were full. Basements were full. Gardens were underwater.
On the sixth day, food was becoming an issue. And, the ultimate loss of utility occurred. The sewage began to back up. That did help with the hunger though.
On the eve of the night, I made the decision.
We would leave our home and go to our mountain cabin. It had solar panels and we had some food there. Plus, the garden there was well drained. I also knew the sewer would work. I carefully drew our route on the road map, carefully avoiding any low spots and water crossings.
We traveled in our 20 year old work truck. It didn’t have any electronics on it, so it was not effected by the general ban on travel. I siphoned gas out of our two other vehicles for the truck and the generator at the cabin. We took what food and water we had and we left late in the evening.
“Are we doing the right thing Max”
I have never been one to get ambiguous in a disaster.
We arrived early the next morning.
It was wet, but not inundated.
The garden was OK, and the food in the freezer was good. Even our water pump was working. The rain water tanks were obviously full. The high efficiency lights powered from the solar panels were working fine and the new lithium ion batteries were fully charged.
Of course, with only a weeks worth of storage, we would need to be very careful in our energy budgeting.
We read and meditated and loved one another for three days.
Then we heard the news.
The great dam that provided water and power for the city was finally overtopped by the constant rain. The river authority was helpless in the management of the flows.
I understand that when the dam failed, that you could hear the boom of it for miles around...that it shook the ground as it moved from its moorings.
The wall of water, apparently 75 feet in height and 30 miles long, did an amazing job of erasing the landscape of everything made, by God or man.
Janelle just stared over at the horizon.
The drenched fields sparkled in the rays of the sun.
It had been a full fortnight of rain.
Climate Change finally burst into our lives.
We weren’t the first.
And we wouldn’t be the last.
art courtesy of theberge2
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