We almost built an ark

Half my yard was under water last weekend, and my garden shed was flooded, but I was one of the lucky ones; the water didn’t come into the house.

The news was full of stories about muddy hills sliding into homes and roads and rivers rising over their banks. The rain came down in sheets, blown sideways by stiff winds that nipped off weak branches and pushed at trees and houses. Driving over the Yaquina Bridge at the end of a white-knuckle trip to Albany and back, I felt it beating on my car like a bully determined to throw me into the bay. It was a time to go home and stay there as rainfall records dissolved on the Oregon Coast.

It seemed as if the rain would never stop, but it did eventually slow down. By Monday, the clouds pulled back enough to reveal little patches of blue sky and a wan sun offering light if not warmth. Annie and I went walking at South Beach State Park. New lakes appeared beside the paved paths. A path that headed west near the jetty had turned into a river too wide and deep to cross. The handicap-accessible path and platform overlooking the beach were barely dog-accessible now, completely buried in sand. Wishing we had skis, we climbed over the wet sand, and I sat on the railing of the fence which barely jutted out of the sand while Annie stared out at the thrashing ocean.

It began to rain again just as we returned to the car.

Today, I drove to Yachats for yoga class. The rain was intermittent, barely more than a mist compared to what we had before. High water signs dotted the road here and there, and I saw new lakes where there used to be dry land. The ocean at high tide was all white foam and high waves crashing on soaked beaches littered with trees tossed ashore during the storm. Red cones marked mudslides along the land side of the highway.

As I type, it’s raining again, dark ad twilight at 1 p.m. We still may need an ark. I admit that I thought a bit last weekend about moving to someplace drier. But I know that when the sun comes out again, such thoughts always melt away.

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