Saturday, April 23, 2011

Living In the Drain

At last, it rained - a good rain that filled ol' Duke's food dish to the top. I do not know the equivalency of dog dish to inches of rain but I estimate it over three inches. That is my best guess based on how loud the creek was Friday morning. I like the sound of the roaring creek. That is, I like the sound of the roaring creek when I know I am not in danger of being trapped by a flood.

Many decades ago someone chose this naturally round and flat spot next to the clear spring waters of a prairie creek to build a home. It is a beautiful location, sheltered by the high banks and tall trees. I fell in love with the place as soon as I walked onto the property. After I became intimately familiar with the lay of the land, I realized my house was positioned literally at the drain of the valley. The creek flows in from the east, loops south to north, then makes a 90 degree turn back to the west. It periodically escapes its banks and scours over the entire yard. Over millennium, the creek produced an alluring flat building site.

In addition, there is a steep ravine that drains the mile-wide southern slope of a ridge of hills. Water runs off the slope into a natural ditch on the north side of the road, then plunges into a large culvert at the top of my driveway. From there, it spills down a rocky cut and beneath the drive through two large drain tubes. The force of the water spilling from those tubes has cut a pool about fifteen feet deep on the west side of the drive.

Lastly, the pasture east of the house has a long east-west drainage that enters into the ravine just north of the path to the barn. The entire valley drains right where my house sits. Luckily for me, it has only truly flooded once or twice since the house was built, and that was before I moved in. However, my trash cans were carried away while I was at work one day two years ago. I could see from the flattened grass that the creek had been out of its banks that day. I have since roped my trashcans to a tree and resolved to build a house on higher ground.

When it rains even a little, the creek rises. When it rains a lot, the creek becomes a roaring, dangerous current scouring the stream bed clean, exposing Permian Sea limestone and fossils. When it rains really hard and I can hear the rushing water over the thunder, I head for higher ground - just in case. I have spent the night sleeping (poorly) in the front seat of my truck, parked at the top of the drive. Once out of the banks, the current would be too dangerous to walk in, so I err on the side of caution. It is simply the reality of living in the drain.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, does a lot of rain make it High Spirit Creek (or high Spirits Creek, or, or...)