To Get To The Other Side

... impression sous-marine ...!!!
Image by Denis Collette…!!! via Flickr

Question: How will we let the chickens out of the house today if we can’t get across the creek?

It’s too dark to see yet. It rained all night–on top of yesterdays unbroken 24 hours of rain. The radar loop shows an eastern-moving counterclockwise band of yellow more than green whose center is southwest Virginia. It’s raining far harder now than it has, and we’re under flood watch until four o’clock.

So since 3 a.m. I’ve tried to let those hens out of their soggy house into their standing-water pen, and Wile E Coyote dreams had me swinging over on a vine or turning the plank we use to cross (which I pulled up onto the bank last night) into a springboard to jump across, but how’d I get back? How about a rocket suit? A giant trampoline? (Im)possibility thinking…

Then I realized that the chickens might not be the biggest problem when daylight comes, as the rains keep pounding the metal roof, and the creek keeps rising. It hasn’t happened often, but this might be one of those times when we can’t get out of the valley either way.

I don’t need daylight to know that the two low-water bridges are deeper under water now than they were as early as yesterday morning. And coming home from the other way in last night, the creek was not over the road yet, but it wasn’t so far below it at a place where, had Ann taken off for work a few years back as she insisted she was going to do during a flood–”it couldn’t be very deep” she insisted–-she’d have discovered under that muddy surface, the road was gone.

“Turn around: don’t drown” says the robot voice on the NOAA weather radio emergency bulletin.

So, getting the dog to “puppy camp” this afternoon so we can get Ann to Williamsburg by noon tomorrow for her meeting might not happen.

Come  on, Mr. Coyote, think of something!

UPDATE 922AM: Road east is passable through a good bit of water, road intact. Our 2 x 12 x 20 was long enough by inches to fall on land and not in water when we put it back in place, so the hens are on the loose. Hopefully they realize they are not especially strong swimmers and there is no such thing as the CHICKEN PADDLE.

NOTICE: Comments after 5 pm will disappear into the ethers extending for a few hours this evening as the blog moves to higher ground. (A simple server switch, he said with mock confidence.)

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. What you gonna do if the creeks rise,
    Study data sets from the Coles Knob Doppler. I don’t know if you can get to the raw data from the NOAA, but this is pretty cool; access link, scroll down and see the rainfall distribution.

    I don’t know about Goose Creek, but the Little River is gauged at GraysonTown, real time. 3567 cuft/sec!

    Do your chickens swim? We had a kitten that escaped from marauding chickens by swimming across a pond…
    Surfs up.