It’s rained every day for a week. On Thursday meteorologists told us that this weekend we would have a flood of “devastating, catastrophic, and historical” proportions. A 1 in 1000 year event.
I was worried.
My one-hundred-year-old studio sits next to a mountain creek. In those one hundred years there have been many floods. One in 1977 was utterly devastating for my community. Bridges were washed away. The South Toe River and all her creeks rose to epic proportions. When people tell me how high the water was, I can’t even begin to comprehend it.
On Friday I started moving things upstairs. I took the meteorologists’ forecasts very seriously. Artwork, rugs, throw pillows, cards. I was recovering from a virus and every trip up the stairs made me a little breathless. Unfinished paintings, pastels, printers. Up the stairs. Friends offered their help. My parents offered up prayers.
Disaster preparedness is a funny thing. In your mind you imagine the very worst. It puts your feet on the ground in a visceral way. You do what must be done.
But in the end, the meteorologists got a little overexcited, and the storm shifted more to the south. As I write this, on Sunday morning, South Carolina is still being hit hard. The flooding is being described as a 1 in 200 year event.
Here, it’s a drizzle. I get to move all my beautiful stuff back downstairs and prepare for the Art Hop that is happening this coming weekend. It feels very normal after imagining a thousand year flood scouring the earth.
Disaster preparedness is a funny thing. It puts in mind people who are navigating very real and indescribable disaster. The refugees of Syria especially. What it must take to leave your homeland with only the clothes on your back. How “doing what must be done” is about life-or-death decisions strung out over minutes, hours, days, weeks, years. You can’t even begin to comprehend it.
If my studio had been washed away or severely flooded, I would still have my home. I would even still have a place to work and the tools I needed. I would have my family, my friends, my beloved community.
Disaster preparedness is a funny thing. It helps you realize not what you could lose, but how much you have. You can’t even begin to comprehend it.