What a difference…
Mother nature always finds new ways to amaze. Levees are holding in the face to Hurricane Isaac… holding, but the floods are just overtopping them.
Back in 1980, when Mt St Hellens erupted, I lived not far downstream. When the volcano started seriously rumbling, my Great Uncle tried to get my grandparents, Mom, my Aunt Silly, and all us kids to come live with him in California. He had actually started the process of buying a nearby house (he was fairly well off). He was convinced we were all in great danger.
Grandpa pointed out that Uncle Lyle lived in the Shasta Valley… In the shadow of a larger volcano that was part of the same mountain range. Since no one can see the future, we could be trading one natural disaster for a worse one.
It wasn’t until that eruption that I learned Mom, my sister, and I had been living in a flood plain for both the Cowlitz and Columbia rivers for at least four years. Decades before, dikes had been built along the rivers, and as sometimes swampy land dried out, people started building.
For the weeks and months after the eruption, seeing the water level of the Cowlitz sometimes within inches of overtopping the dike certainly made one think.
The difference between inconvenience and disaster is sometimes just a matter of inches or minutes. No matter how many precautions and contingency plans we’ve made, there’s always something that can be worse than we imagined. Or something we didn’t think of. Or simple a bit of bad timing.
Life is a gample. We should be grateful for the wins, learn lessons from the losses, and always be ready to lend a helping hand.