How Beautiful to Be Immersed in a Good, Clean Flood
For the past year or two, much of my stress has been caused by human cruelty and weakness. At work and in the news and sometimes in life, I'm witnessing more overt forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, and gun violence. And then, in response to any efforts at reducing such cruelty, there's a fact-resistant, compassion-resistant, intelligence-resistant backlash justified by the same cannibalistic attitude of victim-blaming: "You must have deserved it, you fill-in-the-slur."
While no one dares to visit such cruelty upon me personally, probably because my ass kicking reputation rivals that of Chuck Norris (among my other #blessed privileges), it makes me sick to watch people I know on social media either: a) turn into Russian zombie bot trolls hell-bent on destroying life for anyone who isn't a rich white dudebro in a fact-resistant helmet, or b) unplug completely. It wouldn't be so bad if the trolling were all about hypotheticals and ideas not affecting the RL, or if I could just stay offline, but I'm on here checking daily on my first grade child's school district to find out if there's a Code Red drill (three times a year minimum now) or a lockdown or an evacuation due to a copycat violent threat made immediately after the most recent news story about a mass murder.
At times like this, a natural disaster can be refreshing to the soul.
My metropolitan area is underwater right now! Yeehaw!
We are under a State of Emergency. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes. The abruptly changing temperatures, rapid snowmelt, and rushing waters have smashed up Michigan's already-terrible roads with epic potholes, rendering many of them impassable, even those that are not covered. Military helicopters are blattering low in the sky, surveying the washed-out landscape. Lots of people I know have had their cars, homes, land, and possessions damaged or ruined. The biggest liquor store in town is submerged almost to the ceiling. The zoo is surrounded by a deep moat which is being enjoyed by the moose. The drained wetlands to the east have risen from their earthly suppression to reclaim wealthy suburbanites' neighborhoods.
It is so exhilarating!
Now, I'm not pleased about the harm this flood is doing to undeserving civilians. I would never wish these things upon anyone (*cough* out loud), and in fact I do whatever tiny things I can to resist the climate change that increases these disasters and the economic and racial injustices that push people into living in dangerous zones.
But also, for reasons I can neither choose nor fully explain, it feels cleansing to have my attention diverted from problems caused by regular a**holes to problems caused by Acts of God. I feel more prepared to respond to this kind of disaster. Although this bank-busting of the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers is the largest in our lifetimes, my husband and I have planned our lives around the possibility of weather-related disasters. (Maybe it's a Michigan thing?) We purchased a house on high ground with a walk-out basement that literally cannot flood beyond the floor getting wet. It's a rugged and sturdy home that can function without utility connections for a good, long time (as we found out the hard way during The 2013 Ice Storm that left us without power during record-breaking low temperatures for two weeks over the holidays). Our house ain't fancy, but it can sure pull a plow. Or something.
We don't believe in the zombie apocalypse (except the digital kind happening now), but we do believe in climate change, so we prep accordingly--not by hoarding (sorry, hoarders whose crap is underwater today) but by designing a more resilient and less needy life.
If you are impacted by this flood, please visit WKAR.org for updates on road closures, evacuations, and resources.
I must admit that I am finding nature's wrath to be inspiring to my creative writing, and I've been humming classic Bjork this whole time. State of emergency, how beautiful to be...