The recent weather around the country can only be classified as unbelievable. It seems night after night the news is filled with stories of torrential rains, tornados, and flooding. We watch the lives of people unknown to us blown away, floating away… and forever changed in ways we all hope to never know.
I have spent more nights in the showerhouse taking shelter from violent storms in the past weeks than I want to count. I’ve emerged to find nothing and noone harmed in the campground by the high winds and heavy rains, though farms nearby are littered with downed trees and silos.
And I’ve watched the lake I call home rise higher and higher with each passing day.
It came home Thursday when we were told that we needed to evacuate the campground as soon as possible. The water was expected to be over the roads by nightfall and the park would be closed until the floodwaters receded. We should expect to be away from the place we call home for at least 3 weeks if not longer.
And so it began…the hurried “see ya laters” to the other hosts who were facing the same thing, the phone calls to family and friends letting them know where we were heading, the choosing of what needed to be taken and what could be left behind to recover when we returned, and following our caravan of RV’s in the car to a safer haven. 3 hours later, I loaded up the dogs and began the trip.
Making my way out of the park, my gut was wrenched by the sight of familiar trails, meadows, and woods where the deer loved to play. What was once emerging green springtime is now a pond of water that laps at the top of the road. One road was already barricaded because of the water that lay on it. The remainder of the road out was threatening to be taken over by the churning water at it’s edge. Soon it too would succumb.
And I cried. My sense of loss was keen. It didn’t matter that I knew I would return eventually. I was leaving the place I call home and love so very much, a town that embraced this stranger to it just 2 years ago, and friends who I will not see on a daily basis for awhile. There will be no tomatos or peppers planted in the small plot next to the camper this year. I won’t be able to see the new fawns who might be born or play hide and seek with the raccoon who has taken up residence in the culvert next to our site. The hummingbirds who had started to come to my feeders will have to re-acquaint themselves with them when we return. I will have to wait to see how some of the kids have grown up and re-kindle old friendships from summers past. I WILL return, though it will take some time.
In the meantime, the choice was made to land at Beaver Dam State Park where the “camping adventure” first began two and a half years ago. I only have to re-learn a town that remains familiar to me. The faces here are the same as evidenced by the line of site techs on mowers as I came back into the park today, all waving like mad and hollering “welcome backs”. The heartfelt welcome brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my heart!
My situation is miniscule compared to what others across this country have faced in the devastation of the storms. The kindness and compassion of friends who offered places to stay and put the camper without a second thought…the countless phone calls and text messages to make sure that all is ok…all let me know just how rich I am!
I am blessed! I was able to take my home and possessions with me where others have only been able to watch theirs blow or float away. I can only imagine (and hope I never have to experience it) the grief and horror of those who have totally lost huge portions of their lives.
The severity of each experience differs, but there is one thing that I am sure remains the same…
The Lord keeps me safe and that is enough!