Returning from Iowa City today, I crossed a swollen Cedar River. The boundaries between field and stream had long disappeared. Once home, I went to take flood pictures of ‘The Rock’. Between the Ben Franklin Store and the river I met a mom and some kids doing the same. A TV cameraman in a winter jacket prepared to shoot video footage of a young newsperson with a row of homes surrounded by water in the background.
Then I spotted a man in a row boat paddling toward the parking lot–I recognized him. It was Buck, a member of my congregation and self-professed ‘river rat’. When it floods, Buck and Coralee know to move the furniture upstairs and get out their waders. He and his neighbors park their vehicles on dry land and use waders, or Buck’s row boat, to get to their cars. It works for them.
Since moving to Moline, I’ve met a number of ‘river rats’, people who have grown-up on the river or have chosen to make the water’s edge their home. Most days, there are great advantages including: recreation, wild-life, and amazing views. When the waters rise, they know the drill and adapt.