Sunday, May 2, 2010

Epic Nashville Floods: When The News Comes To Your Front Door


ROILING TORRENTIAL RAINS ROLLED INTO NASHVILLE EARLY SATURDAY MORNING. Several hours later one of my 'modern' kitchen windows flipped wildly out of its tracks as I tried to raise and tighten it against the ominous descending storm system. The window dangled unreachable outside by a thread above the soggy ground below, leaving a gaping hole for rain and wind to barrel into my kitchen to keep me company and give me the penultimate indoor/outdoor experience.

I dug my biggest mop out of the closet and began to swab the decks of my kitchen as the sounds of thunder, rain, sirens, fire engines and storm warnings blasted through the outside air creating an almost apocalyptic sense of doom. People were stranded everywhere, streets impassable, stores and shopping malls flooded and closed as waters continued to rise. A flurry of phone calls to and from family and friends went on as we checked on each other's whereabouts while the long day grinded into the long, dark night of unending rain.

This morning---Sunday---the rain contined unabated. It rained harder. A little after dawn, I had my first cup of coffee. The power suddenly went out with a huge clap of thunder. I mopped the wet floor around the missing window again and plopped down in my favorite kitchen chair. There was nothing to do but surrender to the violent forces of nature swirling around us and wait it out.

I closed my eyes and dozed off, dreaming of a warm sunny day with blue skies, chirping birds and hungry trout waiting to take my fly.

But then, I thought......thought I heard a voice far off in the distance through my open window screaming for help. Surely I was dreaming and dozed off again. Then I heard it again. And again. I woke up this time in earnest and bolted out of my chair. I grabbed my car keys and rain jacket, yelling to my neighbor Martha that something was wrong and someone needed help! Did she want to come with me? No, she sure didn't but was happy to loan me her size 6 Wellies since I couldn't find mine. I thanked her, pulled them on and ran to my car to drive several hundred feet to the entrance of our complex and the main road which was flooded beyond recognition.

Police cars and other vehicles were idling as people stood around the huge lake which until yesterday was one of the main thoroughfares in Nashville. A motorboat with lights was out in the lake, cruising towards us now.

What's happened? I asked the first police officer I came to.

We almost lost one of our men, we're bringing him in now in the boat. His squad car got washed away in the water and he almost went with it.

So that was what all the yelling I'd been hearing was about. Where's the squad car now? I asked.

Who knows? Gone, lost in the flood somewhere. No telling where it'll turn up later. There's another lady out there carried away by the water but no one could get to her in time, no one knows where she is.

I'm so sorry, officer. Is there anything I can do for you fellows or anyone out here right now?

Just pray. None of us has ever seen anything like this in Nashville. It's one bigtime mess.

I can do that officer, I can certainly pray. You fellows be careful and thanks for all you're doing, I said as I ran back to my car completely drenched.

Later this afternoon the power came back on. The rain seems to be abating.Even a few birds are daring to tentatively chirp again. But it will be a while before flood waters recede and damage is assessed in terms of human life and property.

But one thing's for certain: It will be a long, long time before people stop talking about the Great May 1st, 2010 flood in Nashville. A very long time indeed.


mRed said...

To be there, on the spot, means so much to those that respond because they now know someone cares.

Be careful. Please.

WV: toall. To all. How very appropriate.

Webutante said...

Thank you Sir. It's been a long few days here in Lake Nashville and many people have lost their homes. My heart goes out to them.

gcotharn said...

Please update if the lost lady's fate becomes known. thx

Webutante said...

Will do, Greg. I shudder to think what will be found and where as flood waters recede.

Tregonsee said...

In the 23 years I have lived here, we have had a 100 year snowstorm, a 50 year ice storm, and the only question is which will be used to categorize this flood. Truly, living in the Mid South is interesting, in the Chinese curse sense. Still, I would think of moving.

Prayers and best wishes to all.


Webutante said...

Best wishes and prayers to you also Treg....I believe---HOPE---you have a typo in that last sentence in your first paragraph!


Webutante said...

Greg, as promised I wanted to give you and other readers an update on the fate of the woman in my post above who had allegedly been swept away in the raging waters Sunday morning.

Today, Tuesday, I learned indeed her body, along with that of her husband was found this morning behind the Krogers grocery in the photo above along with their battered vehicle as waters subsided. It seemed they were on their way to the Episcopal church up the street around 9 am Sunday and the husband who was driving came to the impasse in the road that had flooded into a huge body of moving water. For some reason he decided to attempt to drive on through it thinking his vehicle could make it. Within seconds they and it were swept away in the swirling currents along with their car. The rest is very sad history.

I know of the couple but don't know them. It's actually a wonder more people didn't drown in this unbelievable tragedy.

gcotharn said...

Thank you for the follow up.

I left some items hanging out two weeks ago - including this, then my cable connection crashed over the weekend of the 8th, and I left it crashed for several days, b/c I needed to handle some things away from internet, anyway. Then I got back on internet and, over time, realized I had left things hanging in several places, and only bit by bit caught myself up. I apologize for not responding and thanking you sooner for the follow up.

When contemplating the sudden death of the drowned Episcopalian couple: my comfort is in my knowledge of their faith; is in my faith that their souls exist as before, albeit in a different dimension; is in my faith that walking on Earth is merely a stage of existence, that the couple are, even now, together and communing with God in a Greater Existence.

I've been quietly traumatized, for most of my life, by the tragedy of the certain future deaths of my loved ones, of myself, of all humans. I've felt it is tragic, unfair, cruel. Why even try to accomplish anything when everything will only come to dust and heartbreak? Ecclesiastes sings my song of futile depression, only I add a large dollop of psychic pain and suffering.

Only relatively recently have I begun to feel the shadow of the feelings of futility and of tragic awfulness lift. The shadow has lifted as my faith has grown. God has lifted the shadow. I used to say, at an intellectual level of understanding, that our souls are immortal. But I didn't GET IT in my bones, in my soul. My faith wasn't strong enough for me to trust in the truth that our souls are immortal, that heaven will be a better existence than this existence. I would mouth all of that, and I would want to believe it, and would tell myself I believed it. But our existence is not strictly about our intellectual understanding. I didn't truly GET IT and TRUST IT at a spiritual level. And, therefore, I didn't actually get it, at all.

But I do get it now. Getting it, a a spiritual level, is still new to me. Trusting that this existence is just a stage in a never ending existence ... is still new to me ... fresh ... I'm still in the honeymoon phase of having faith in the concept!

But I do have faith in the concept. It gives me comfort when thinking of the Episcopalian couple. Whatever they went through: were their heads banged in a crash into concrete? were they half conscious and woozy? Were they calm or frightened? Did a window break and water rush in? Whatever they went through: they are still them ... b/c they always were, above all else, defined by their souls which go on forever and ever. It's comforting. I hope it doesn't seem flippant to say that; doesn't seem as if I'm ignoring their ordeal, or ignoring the pain of their loved ones left behind. Don't intend flippancy. Just saying: comforting.

Webutante said...

Greg, thanks for your comment. Sorry about losing your broadband connection....though sometimes it can be a blessing....

I don't know about the real condition of the couple's souls---being 'religious' is not necessarily the same as Saving Faith---and I do hope they believed in Christ as their only hope and Savior. Anything else would make it a real and eternal tragedy, that is if you believe what's written in the Bible.

God bless.