Saturday, December 19, 2009

Some People Get Snow Days--I Get a Flood Day

On Thursday night, I drove home through torrential rain--just another sign that the climate has gone off the rails. We usually don't get this kind of rain in winter; it's the kind of rain we usually associate with tropical systems.

Thursday was also graduation, and those of us who have been around long enough know that it usually rains on graduation day. But I've never seen anything like what I saw on Thursday, outside of tropical storms.

I drove through a lake of standing water in the parking garage. Amazed that my car didn't stall, I made my way home. When I got to my neighborhood, I was driving from memory: the rain was coming down in sheets, so I couldn't see houses, I couldn't see the lines on the road, I couldn't see much at all. If we didn't have a butterfly tree planted by our driveway, I don't know how I'd have known I was at my house.

After a few hours, it stopped raining, and overnight, the flood waters receded. I was able to get my friend down to Miami International Airport, so she could begin her multi-continent journey. But as we drove down, the skies opened up once again.

I drove home on Interstate 95. We drove about 30 miles per hour, and here and there, people slid into my lane. I was able to avoid them. Once again, my neighborhood roads flooded.

My dean has always said that if weather conditions make travel dangerous that we should use our discretion; he says this comment every year as we discuss our hurricane preparedness preparations, but I thought it fit yesterday too. Why drive very slowly to work to park in a flooded parking garage, to face the same kind of commute on the way home? I had the kind of day at work where I didn't have much scheduled, just finishing up some odds and ends. I called in flooded (it will count against my sick leave balance, but I don't care).

It was a lovely day. I don't have to worry about my house flooding, because it's on a high foundation, and we live in one of the high spots in South Florida (such as high spots go). Unlike during extreme weather events, like hurricanes, the electricity wasn't disrupted and we didn't have to worry about property damage.

I played Christmas CDs all day, something I haven't done, except in the car. I read all my old issues of Poets and Writers that I hadn't gotten around to reading yet. I have such a pile of back issues of magazines awaiting my attention! I took a nap to the sound of quiet Christmas music and noisy rain. I wrote a poem from a line that occurred to me as I was driving slowly home: Miami wears a burka of rain.

My day ran out before I could bake cookies or read a book or do countless other things that have been neglected. Still, it was lovely to have a spot of downtime in a very crowded season.

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