Two weeks ago today there was what some people called a 1,000 year flood in our region. Keewenaw, Houghton and Baraga counties were drenched with 7 inches of hard and fast rain within a short time on Sunday morning. Joe went to work as usual and besides a detour that took him on a long way to get there, he did not suspect the devastation that happened to some others we know. That was June 17th 2018.
Agate street is a serious incline sporting a worn thin layer of 80 year old asphalt. It was turned into a primitive ditch as the flood water scalped off the top of it and beared witness to the original ground beneath.
The great deluge pored into the Portage canal. The lower level of a house, perched on the edge, was flooded and the 12 year old boy sleeping in the basement was buried in the collapse. His father dug him out. He died a day later and one report said that that was the only death in all the wreck of a city. The only fatality,they said. Only one. It was his son. The only one with that name. That was the only one.
My friend Chuck is a retired professor from Michigan Tech and lives 500 feet from Agate street. He said it is the worst disaster he has seen since coming to live here. That was 40 years ago. But this was at least the 100 plus year storm. Then some.
Today I rise early and drive Arnheim road. Migrant birds are still singing on the first day of July. Most young are flying. Some probably did not make it through the storm and some probably did. I can hear the voices of the the ones that did and imagine the other ones in heaven.
Deer stand within a field of tall yellow flowers. Their heads bob and shake as they tenderly browse the unplowed plot . A farmers’ tractor is alone and quiet in the middle of his half finished job of bundling hay into gigantic rolls.
When it begins to rain I think of the flood again. I stop the car near the dam on Otter lake and leave the windows open so I can listen. The overflow from the dam rushes under the iron grate and for now that is as far as it goes.
July 1st smells sweet and moist. I drive on and backtrack on my path as I head home.
Those are my thoughts today, two weeks after the flood.