About 4 pm yesterday, the limestone building that houses my office, shook…rumbled. I’d checked weather.com and its thunderboomer prediction and was so glad that I had a car in the parking lot…until a wee before 5 pm when the monsoon swelled and lightning began its hours-long display.
Rain is good. Even swishing relentless roiling rain can be good on the prairie. It washes away the spring pollen, summer dust, and the leafy humus of fall.
Yesterday, it turned land-locked Manhattan, Kansas, into oceanside property.
Which is great for the guy with the orca floatie bobbing about the parking lot or the kids boogie boarding on the campus quad.
It was not good for families trying to assemble their members safely at home, op-too-much-ist-ic drivers whose cars became rafts or reefs; and anyone trying to drive home from the lowlands of downtown.
After waiting for an hour in a parking lot where well-educated people made dumb and dangerous decisions while jockeying for position…in a parking lot queue, I finally began to inch forward. I couldn’t make it home where I’d prepared a feast for Monday Night Meal pals, but I could make it to the home of two of those pals where we enjoyed quick chili and cold beer.
After the soggy howl abated a bit, I heard from my downstairs-neighbors who had water in their home. They were looking for towels to sop up the swell. This was the “sign” that I needed to go home. I drove the high ground and made it home with minor hydroplaning and a bit of soaked awe.
I found myself repeating, “Go home, Mother Nature, you’re drunk.”
In the effort to encourage Mother Nature to be socially responsible, I change it here to, “Call a cab, Mother Nature, you’re drunk.”
With all of the flooded cars and basements, asphalt washed up in piles at the base of hills, and what will likely be a run on Tetanus shots soon, Manhattan escaped real disaster. And this has given me pause.
Thousands of people in Nepal dead and displaced; I can air out my car. (The sunroof was DOWN this time!)
214 of the girls abducted by Boko Haram have been found pregnant; both of my kids checked in last night to make sure I was not sleeping in my kayak.
Detroit in hopeful rebuilding, California so thirsty from a mix of bad big business policies, climate, and human short-sightedness; Baltimore, Ferguson, Deep Water, the Middle East, rape, abuse, loneliness, hunger, poverty, suicide, and too much more.
This little city on the prairie escaped real harm. We pull together, we make the best, we look out for one another, grown men wear purple proudly, the university president is accessible and he and his wife are true leaders…our faith and social communities band together to “Love Manhattan”, people send out calls for hope and help for others – strangers, and we do our best life in this imperfect town. We can do more.
We cannot feel sorry for ourselves for the temporary inconvenience of our new car thoroughly scoured by floodwaters; we know that insurance will replace it. We can put life in perspective when the cake in the oven falls, and our team falls out of the play-offs.
We can look to our left and our right and far away to see-with-a-heart-and-hands-towards-action the hopeful rebuilding, thirsty, short-sighted, flooded, wounded, lonely, hungry, truly-poor, despondent, and too much more.
If our greatest burden – our deepest suffering – are cancelled practices and damaged/ruined stuff, we are doing okay.
So, along with Mother Nature, I’m packing my judgement, self-centeredness, and small-mindedness in the cab and sending them to rehab. I hope Mother Nature dries out a bit and the others find ways to “suck it up, Buttercup.”
In the meantime, let’s have fun, pull together, and share our umbrellas.