Bottom Creek is presently in flood stage. (I almost wrote “Bottom Creek is currently in flood stage.” But that was way too funny and I’m starting this writing off seriously, as this here is my life’s work and that does sound like I should be pretty straight up. It also tends to stress me out, hence the 20 years it’s taken to get this sucker going.)
It has rained here in SW VA for almost two weeks. I hate the rain. I can barely open my eyes on an overcast day, but I’m raring to go at 6:00AM on a day that promises sunshine. I’ve got SAD in the worst way, and I’m unapologetic for it. Actually I’m unapologetic for a lot of things, and that gets me in trouble. I’m old, set in my ways, I know what I like. I don’t like rain. I don’t even like clouds because they sometimes cover the sun. Don’t judge.
On the day it started raining the dark skies were more like a nuisance. I mean, all throughout that weekend I couldn’t get dry. It was the crazy quick transition from summer to fall, when all of a sudden you realize your feet are cold. You left home without a sweater and regret it. Your seat warmer feels real nice on your ice cold bum. That day. It rained all Monday. I stayed home. I woke up Tuesday to drizzle and fog. Tuesday morning I went to a class in town. Larry texted me that it was raining hard on the mountain, which means hurry yourself home before you can’t get home. He is definitely not an alarmist. I do that well enough for the both of us.
I got home an hour before Bottom Creek jumped her banks. In my mind and in this narrative she suddenly become female. Primal. The bottom field right below the cow pasture filled with rip roaring run-off. Our driveway usually meanders peacefully through the cow pasture and over a bridge that stands four or five feet above creek level. The rushing water quickly covered our driveway. Entire 40 foot trees started coming through our yard and through the dark brackish river-creek. Every single piece of trash that ever lined the creek bed washed right through our front yard, so to speak. Sawed off tree stumps. Liquor bottles. Pieces of random Styrofoam. Literally anything that wasn’t tied down and that would float. Water comes quickly over the bridge once it’s crossed the bottom field. The now raging river roared into the field where we held Cameron and Annie’s beautiful tranquil wedding last summer. That event would have been under 3 feet of raging brown angry water on that particular Tuesday. The creek-river backed up against our sweet little bridge that I usually don’t think too much about. Except how pretty it looked all lit up for Cam and Annie’s wedding. The lower half was under a few inches of water. The upper half was still above water but there was no crossing that bridge because everything below it was under powerful, crazy waves of water.
By Tuesday night after the hard rain had ended, we were able to cross the bridge to feed the cows their evening grain. The creek still raged dark and murky but a little more contained. The power of water definitely spoke to me that week. Something fearsome yet so very beautiful. Good if contained.
As the week went on the water which still roared slowly became clear. All of the built up sand and topsoil and trees and coke bottles were way down at the Chesapeake watershed by now. Bottom Creek still rushed out of her banks but her dress was altered. She had put on her fancy clothes. The sparkly ones. Her prom dress. Still fierce but something was different, she was scrubbed clean. This water, still flooding mind you, flowed crystal clear.
Because I see every single thing in the natural having spiritual implications this blows me away. How something so mundane yet necessary (and annoying) as rain needs to come. It must come. Although a rainy day completely changes my mood I might remember the creek next time. The rain would not stop for many days. It was COMPLETELY out of my control. Solely at the calculated whim of the One who created rain, to water the earth, and also to water my soul. But the cleansing is the part that blows me away. Bottom Creek was so absolutely clear. The silt, the filth, the trash, the dirt, even the deep rooted trees had been washed away. That Creek needed that cleansing; and it had to come to rip-roaring flash flood stage to wash clean. There were too many obstacles that had to be overcome to entirely renew her without a true honest to goodness scary flood, too many helpful but constricting bridges to butt up against.
So I’m praying today that the Lord continues to do a thorough cleansing in my life not only to remove the visible dirt, but the not yet visible. The Strongholds that I have freely welcomed. The trash I have accumulated on the creek bed of my soul and most certainly all of the garbage and floaters.