Saturday, June 19, 2010

Floods at the Cabin? Oh, yes.

As I drove home from the cabin today and saw the swollen rivers and the threat of more storms in the west, I was thinking about how safe I felt up there.  We had never had water come clear up to the top level where the trailer and cabin sit since we purchased the land in 1964. 

For some reason I came home and though to look for pictures that I had scanned from those early years, long before the cabin was built, back when we only had a trailer and an outhouse.  Have I told you about the trailer? Here's a picture of the three of us kids scraping so it could be repainted. 

This was taken in 1971 or 1972.  Aren't we adorable?  We worked hard to keep that trailer in good shape.  Dad tarred the roof with our old diapers (cloth diapers) to keep it weatherproofed.  When he bought the land, he didn't have much money to put something on there for us to live in, but he found a great deal on a trailer.  It had previously been owned by a hooker.  There were mirrors everywhere.  What a wonderful playtime we kids had with those mirrors.  I can't imagine that mom was too terribly thrilled with having to ensure that the beds were clean enough for us to sleep on, but she worked diligently to ensure that they were.

In 1965, we were there at the end of March - this next picture was taken on March 26. 

 Margie, Diane and Carol.  Jim wasn't even a year old yet.

Two weeks later, this picture was taken.

And then, this one as well.  10-15' of water in the main meadow?  Holy cow!!!

THIS is the flooding in 2008.  We thought it was bad.  The red/white trailer is in the same location as the old trailer was.

All of a sudden my sense of safety from flooding is changed.  Every single time I drive over the bridge, I stop for a few moments to look at the river.  I look for the beauty that I see every single time in that running water.  It's familiar, comfortable and brings memories of fun and play.  But, I also seem to watch the level of water, wondering what it's doing. 

We can never think that we have mastered nature.  It will do what it will and go where it wants to go.  I want to close with a poem mom wrote a few years after we purchased this land. 

Long years I thought of it and now
I have bought my garden;
I saw it, desired it, asked for it,
And gave the man some money for it.
It is my garden now, isn't it?

My mind answers yes, my soul, no!
I cannot own what is universal;
I cannot lay claim to ageless change;
I cannot buy the memories of other footsteps
Treading the same winding paths.

My garden is a meadow, a hill,
A river, trees, gooseberries, thistles,
The spring-popped morel, the dainty columbine,
The delicate warm breeze of summer
Laughing gently at my folly.

It is bugs, myriad swarms of clinging,
Flying, buzzing insects, sticking to my
Sweaty skin as I labor to trim,
Control, govern the lush new growth
Of a wanton spring.

But I cannot own these things.
Does one entrap the wind, command
It to gently soothe a hot, dusty face?
Does one really own free-flying birds
And deer who call my garden home?

I may live here, too, at peace with
The wild things whose roots stretch far
Deeper into this black dirt than mine. I am
Merely a guest, content to
Borrow the beauty of my garden.

The trees will grow here long after
I die. They will watch others till
My garden. The over-arching boughs of
The leaning walnut on the hillside gives
Its benediction to my garden.
-Margie Greenwood, May 28, 1969

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