Christmas carols turned melancholy soon after boughs of holly were hauled to the curb. A downpour of steady rain fell from a foggy sky. First steady drops in sizes of silver heads atop pins of straight, then pocketed pennies plopped from nimbus clouds under shadows of heaven’s dribbling gates.
For several days, I watched a curling ribbon of water trickle down the hill of my little forest land. Soon it widened, forming a rather large pond near a sewer drain. Loose twigs, bark of dark and soggy leaves washed down a gushing waterfall until they stopped to build a dam of sorts. In the end, local rivers and streams filled to capacity and beyond. Flooding of historic proportions became a constant topic on our local television stations, even making the international news.
The Meramec River is one of the longest free-flowing waterways in Missouri, draining nearly 4,000 feet while meandering over 200 miles until it empties into the mighty Mississippi at a point very close to my home. I often visit parks near the Meramec River and have shared pictures with you that are close to my heart.
The last of 2015 ended with the New Year beginning in a rage. It seemed the Meramec River was out of control through no fault of its own. While the pond in the back of my yard continued to spread on all sides, big and wide, waters of my lovely river were rising. Higher and higher they inched, quickly covering banks of grass and walls of concrete until it was more than ever before. Streets and highways were underwater, buildings too, while some homes floated away until they slammed into bridges made of steel, crushing them like tin cans of soup. The river flooded into a fast and flowing current of murky madness.
Together with Doodle dog, my husband and I were pretty much stuck. Most roads leading in and out of our subdivision were under water. Basically, we were living on an island! Still, we were blessed with everything needed within the confines of our home. Most importantly, we didn’t have any personal flooding. Others were not so lucky.
By the third day we were able to drive to the point of no return, a main intersection used each and every day, Highway 44 and 141. Stepping out of our car felt like another world. Water rippled just a few feet in front of my shoes. Debris floated under the tips of stop lights while signs of fast food restaurants surely would be slow to invite the next guest inside anytime soon.
Thirty six hours later the Meramec River receded to less than flood stage. All roads are now open, albeit muddy from the sludge. Cleanup has begun in earnest and although pools and puddles of water remain almost everywhere, soon no one driving on highway 44 will ever know.
This morning when I woke the skies were no longer overcast or gray. Sun was shining, splashing across the cheeks of my face. When I opened the door to my paver patio the pond was no longer in the far back of my yard. Perhaps it had dried from new rays of sparkling sun or soaked into wisps of brown winter grass?
Down near the sewer drain, on what was left of the pile of twigs, leaves and dark bark, was a winter bird I had not yet seen this season. He was perched at the very highest point of the dam. There he sang a lovely melody. Perhaps he was calling to his mate in the nearby woods? So beautiful he was under the brilliant sun, black and white with a bright red breast.
When all goes wrong in the world, God makes everything right.