Rain this weekend.
Lots of it, straight down, days and nights.
Pound-y rain. Thunder.
Weather radio bleeping and blooping, us joking about how the little man inside it kept telling us what we already knew: it was raining. We GET IT, little guy. Clock out.
We cleaned out closets, I dragged Bird along on a thrift store outing, A. did some wet grocery shopping, we all spent Saturday evening on a friend’s porch to celebrate a birthday in the deluge. When it came to shoes, I chose poorly– cheap purple flats that felt like wet socks on bare feet. Clammy ick. Reached for the pull-chain in the bedroom closet upstairs and drip, drip, drip down my arm from around the light fixture. Rats. Fix it later, oh well. Slept with the windows open and listened to more more more more rain. Woke up in gray light next to a fat, bare baby nursing in her sleep, rain pounding the roof, house completely silent, breezy. Lucky me.
Watery garden in the morning, got in the car and set out to church solo through the downpour, turned around to fetch a forgotten coffee mug from home and stayed. More closet cleaning, making up songs with Bird, scheming with A., making pizza dough, pinching the baby.
Meanwhile, 18 blocks away, the river was escaping its banks, and downtown was drowning. The Opry was drowning. The symphony center was drowning. Opryland Hotel. Lower Broadway. Entire neighborhoods. Schools. Businesses. The mall. History. People were evacuated. People bailed water and watched their keepsakes and furniture float out into the street. Uncontrollable water washed around street corners and flowed in through windows and doors. Cars were carried off. The stranded were rescued from their homes by boat. People lost power, phone service, each other. Roads and bridges crumbled while we ate our pizza and Bird declared her distaste for the crust, again.
The last two mornings I have driven across the bridge over the obscenely swollen river, over three-day-old lakes littered with parked cars, past the now-waterfront intersection of 8th Ave, through clouds of diesel fumes from the generators. I’ve passed over the waves on First Ave, driven my 4 miles over high ground, parked my car in the bone-dry lot behind my office, and spent large chunks of time obsessing about commas and capitalization rules as I proof a complex and frustrating piece that is set to print tomorrow.
Completely spared. Lucky, lucky me.