The silence was complete, except for the sound of water moving steadily and firmly past them, and now and then a tree giving up its muddy struggle with gravity; no one spoke--they finally turned, stunned, and struggled up the devastated road toward the house and warmth and the reality of a shrinking food supply, dwindling fuel, and a winter, if they survived that long, of frozen lakes.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
The first heavy autumn rain soon became a week-long torrent, and then two more unexpected weeks of it; a steady numbing downpour that invaded their souls, filling the otherwise silent rooms with the sound of a river rushing through a ravine. Leaving the house was nearly impossible--Katy said it was like swimming through a waterfall, the radio reminding anyone listening to head for higher ground, as the autumn floods were rampant and getting worse as streams further north began to rise and join the swollen rivers in the valleys that surrounded them.
After the power went out on the first weekend they slowly began to revert to a rhythm much like that of their not so distant ancestors--eat, tend the fireplaces, sleep, read; turn on the generator just long enough to keep the freezer and refrigerator cold. The radio stopped working, and they finally understood that the stations were no longer broadcasting.
Long unused board games and dusty decks of cards were unearthed and the days were filled with Monopoly, Parcheesi, Gin Rummy, and Chess. There was plenty of food and fuel for the present but, aware of long term possibilities, they instinctively meted out their supplies carefully--"good time to go on a diet" they agreed, laughing a bit too hard...
After the rains stopped and the sun reluctantly came out they waited, like Noah's Ark inhabitants, until the waters abated a bit and the road became a passable if not driveable road again; living on the highest point of land meant flooding was ordinarily from the ground up, and as Peter said more than once, if we flood, the rest of the world is in trouble.
The road of course was impassable in a vehicle, so they ventured out on foot to see what had happened to the valley; without even a telephone for communication they had been utterly isolated for almost the entire three weeks--even the cell phones had stopped working, and they were simply unprepared for what met them halfway to the end of the long steep driveway.
They saw trees bent and broken, uprooted, floating in a glistening lake of brown water that glowed serenely in the sunlight. Houses along where the main road had been were gone, although here and there stubborn chimneys were still showing above the stinking water, and debris still contained dead animals, floating bodies, household possessions buoyant enough to float.
Posted by mittens at 11:26 PM