Monday, June 23, 2008

Agonizing reappraisal

I remember riding across West Tennessee to see my grandparents as a boy. The two-lane highway was built on a berm to keep it up out of the bottom land. The bottom land was the alluvial plain of the Obion River, if memory serves, and since the Obion has three forks that drain a large chunk of northwest Tennessee, it probably does.

More than once, the rivers were up. The time I recall most vividly, the water lapped up onto the road in places, and my parents were quiet and as grim as the wet gray sky.

Endless water, passive on the surface but implacable, where farms soils used to be reliable and firm, changes your view of the permanence of the landscape. At least it changed mine.

Still, river water recedes. What will we say when sea level rises enough to take the summer homes of seacoast millionaires? Oops?

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