Monday, September 10, 2012

The River

It started raining yesterday afternoon and since I live on the crest of the slope down to the creek/brook I knew where all the water coming out of the sky was headed. So when I took the dogs down to the creek yesterday I figured it would be raised quite a bit, enough for me to keep an eye on Esme near the water in case she took a wrong step. It was a little higher than usual, had filled its normally empty tributaries and instead of babbling it was rushing.

It started to rain in earnest last evening and overnight it absolutely poured. In the morning it was still raining - solid, heavy, and constant. I knew the creek was going to be full. Just how full was something I'd have to investigate when I got home from work. It rained straight for at least 16 hours - I believe we can thank a hurricane off the coast - and when I took the dogs out I didn't know what to expect. Well, it wasn't this ...

Where the creek is normally 4 feet wide it's now over-flowing to at least 40 feet, possibly more. The danger here is that the tributaries of the creek that allow it to overflow are now invisible. They are (usually) empty creek beds about 2 or 3 feet deep twisting along the forest floor and what with being twisty and turny and currently full of raging water I was more than a little worried about the dogs. The Boy confirmed his simple minded foolishness and followed of his regular path which was under about a foot of water. He eventually reached the point where some logs obscured his way and he tried to go around them, forgetting that the creek bed was now about 4 or 5 feet below the surface of the rushing water and full of years of accumulated debris. Nothing quite like seeing your dog stranded on a few logs in the middle of a rushing, overflowing now-river. When he tried to step across a log and fell into the water, kicking and sputtering his way back up I went into Mommy overdrive, dropped the camera (somewhere dry) and carefully navigated the path he'd followed to help him find his way back. Fortunately he was smart enough to wait for me to come get him.

Thankfully Cora wants nothing to do with the water, most especially since it's moving, and stays far away from it. Leeloo was extremely busy looking for the squirrel and was up the slope and Esme, who I was most concerned about considering her size, was told to stay back which she did because she is not a huge fan of water either. We had to move to higher ground because even our regular path, which is normally about 50 feet away from the creek, was now 12 inches under water. Exactly where the water is in this photo is where I usually walk and it just occurred to me now that the log closest to the camera isn't normally there, it's been shifted about 10 feet since it used to lie along the side of the path.

I wanted to see what the other end of the creek looked like, the part where I would normally take nice serene photos of Cora and The Boy standing in the creek bed. You know, something cute like this(taken about a week ago).

Now that area is under about 5 feet of water and you can't see the banks anymore, the water is overflowing and has extended the width of this creek - about 6 or 8 feet on the creek bed - to about 25 feet. Leeloo is about 10 feet away from and looking almost directly at where Cora was in the previous photo. The water hits a corner, which I was standing next to, gains momentum from the turn and since the landscape also drops slightly the water picks up even more speed in the straightaway. Leeloo knew very well to stay back, with reminders from me. At one point I lost sight of Cora and spent a minute or so calling her in a panic only to have her come down the hill behind me like "What? You think I'm going anywhere near THAT? Mommy, you're so silly."

We back tracked a bit away from the water and came out again at Cora's favorite spot to stand. Except it was also under several feet of rushing, drowning death. Just ahead there is where we often stop to allow the dogs a little sniffy time and some photo ops. Not today. We took one look at the flooded banks and turned back. From where Cora is standing it's still another 20 feet to the creek bank ... but not today. It's certainly not safe to be at the creek, especially considering I took note of a fresh collection of branches and leaves at the base of a tree which were at least another 12 inches above the current level of the water. We won't be going back down until the rain stops and the water recedes to something a little safer. Thankfully my house is at least 40 feet above the creek so unless there is some kind of apocalypse we are in no danger of getting washed away..

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