Friday, May 10, 2013

The River James

The James River flooded earlier this week, reaching flood stage of about 21 feet. We went to Buchanan to view the river late in the day, and the waters had already receded several feet and flooding was no longer a danger to the town.

In 1985 the river overflowed its banks and nearly wiped out both Eagle Rock and Buchanan. That flood remains a high water mark for those communities, and those of us who remember that dreadful November day recall it with a shudder.

When we were by the water's edge, the river was lower, but still angry, and you could smell the sludge and stench of flood waters. 

You can see from the wet marks on the piling that the river had been much higher before we arrived.

From news footage, I know that the water was around this sign and up on the grounds we were standing on earlier in the day.

An angry river is not something to dismiss. It's very dangerous.

The entire parking lot was underwater earlier in the day.

Normally the whole of this sign is visible, and the ground beneath it is dry.

From The River James
By Mary Johnston

. . .

"Three hundred miles
     Runs the River James
Bubbles cool the mountain springs,
     Slides the narrow stream.
Maidenhair and rhododendron,
     Flame azalea, dogwood, laurel,
Roots of helocks,
     Giant hemlocks,
Where the Indian kneeled,
     Cupped his hand and drank cool water

. . .

"Danger and woe!
     Flood -  Flood -
Flood in the James,
     The ancient, mighty, tawny James!
Over the rocks at Richmond,
     Between green islets,
Murmuring, rushing,
     Beneath the city of the dead

 . . .

"The children play,
     The lover smile,
The old folk rest, 
     Beside the James."

1 comment:

  1. Flooding has been really bad all over this year. We've had some here in Southern Wisconsin, and it will only get worse--as of last Monday, there was still 20 inches of ice up north. ABC World News showed a really creepy video the other night of houses being damaged in Northern Minnesota by sheets of ice blown in off the lakes.


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