Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

The Wisdom of the Hummingbird

Waiting, and hoping for the best

May 7, 2010 As rain invaded my basement on the second day of the deluge, I struggled to open a long-stuck garage door that would (maybe, I hoped) let some of the rising water escape. For the next three hours I pushed a big broom through the surf, trying to get the tide to flow out faster than it was flowing in, and rubbing my hands sore in the process. All of this labor was absolutely futile. The sky was still spewing water like a fire hose.

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The water had a place to get to, and it was in a hurry

May 7, 2010 People emerged in ones and twos and threes, with dogs and without, all looking pale and both shell-shocked and excited. The river now covered the ball field. A dead woodchuck floated belly-up among the bobbing plastic bottles. Canada geese swam through the debris, unperturbed.

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All Rooms River View

Watching the waters rise in Bellevue

May 7, 2010 It’s the strangest thing to watch televised images of people carrying other folks out in boats and know it’s happening only a few blocks away. I could hear the helicopter broadcasting the pictures I was seeing. Looking at the aerial shot of Bellevue, it was hard to believe anything was left of our little town. It felt wrong to be sitting there watching it, to be observing the wreckage of my neighbors’ lives.

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Wet Paint

The canvasses weren’t even dry when the water began to rise

May 7, 2010 During the months before the storm, our Leiper’s Fork neighbor Rachael McCampbell, an artist, was working in her home studio on a commission for the Parthenon in Nashville: a dozen or more large canvasses depicting the lives of women in Greek mythology. It was going to be an impressive show.

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Little House in the Rainy Woods

When the power goes out, the real fun begins

May 7, 2010 My husband was off helping to coordinate city relief efforts. I was on my own, and it was too early to cope by uncorking a bottle, even by the permissive standards of our household. The sky was dark except for frequent flashes of lightning, but we had to get the hell out of the house.

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It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Sometimes a drama queen is worse than the storm

May 7, 2010 Thirteen miles from my exit, the bottom fell out of the sky. The road seemed to disappear; drainage pipes spewed like muddy geysers. My sister called my cell phone in a panic, unable to reach our mother. “What about her cell phone?” I asked. “She’s forgotten how to use it,” she snapped. “I’m heading over.”

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