Friday, June 5, 2009


Its raining cats and dogs up here. My son is on a trip with his buddy's family to Ohio. RG is manning the home fires. My brother is flying (!!!!) back from New York. We are redirecting floods in Virginia. I have rescued one window in this 100+ year old house. I know this weather has happened in Carolina earlier because my facebook friend is bemoaning the monsoon. Exactly what is happening here too ?

Rain and rushing water can be dangerous. We are so thankful for the rain and used to the gentle showers of this time of year, that we can take for granted its power when it changes into a gulleywasher.

One time RG and I went canoeing in the New River on a moderately cloudy day after a big rain. We pulled PJ behind in an innertube. We never flew down the river so fast. We barely needed the paddles. We arrived at the end to disembarq. For caution's sake, we got PJ to jump out to jump out before we landed, so he floated to the ramp easily and we then tried to manage the canoe to shore. Suddenly released, PJ's innertube shot past us upsteam. RG had a momentary lapse of memory and decided we couldn't land, but had to pursue the tube. I guess he forgot it was tied to the canoe. Anyway, we had passed the area to land gracefully.

When we realized the rope held the tube, RG decided I should step out of the canoe and hold it while he maintained the steering. What? Well, okay.

Now the water was only somewhat less than three feet deep, but it was fast. And, I am a novice canoer. The New River is usually my kind of lazy river. Today it was a rushing river.

RG is the expert, so I, instead of hopping out, stepped out as instructed. When one leg sunk solidly into the mire, the other was left behind in the boat and I did a pretty good split. This of course flipped the boat and dumped RG, boat paddles, cell phone and all, into the river. He had to rescue the canoe, the tube, four paddles and himself. So I was left alone in the river and struggled to plod to shore.

Now it was not a sand beach, it was a grassy estuary growing in my version of quick sand. The closer I got, the further my legs sunk into the bottom mud. I finally lost a rivershoe at knee height, but did not sink beyond that into the muck which I fully expected. I was not happy. My husband would not be happy later. I literally crawled onto solid land to find my son.

The moral of this story is not to trust rushing water even when it is shorter than you. And - Sometimes, experts who know it all do not really know it all.

General Greene knew this fact about river waters. His magnificent retreat across NC with Cornwallis in pursuit was a combination of providence, science and prior experience. Here is a great link describing the conditions and strategy for moving though the foothills and central NC.

Check out the Catawba River, The Yadkin River, Sherrill's Ford, the Trading Ford, Beattie's Ford and Shallow Ford. Note I guess then a Ford is a low place where it is possible to cross running river. Our Rivers are still the blood vessels of life in Central NC. You can participate in a River Clean-up at Rockford this next weekend. We have done that a few times. It's actually fun. It's also important.

PS. RG was profoundly embarrassed and apologized appropriately. Did I show you my new bracelet???

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