Flood!

by Carl Strang

Transformations of familiar landscapes happen from time to time. Some of these are rhythmic: the changes of the seasons, which can bring in turn a blanket of white, an explosion of green, or a kaleidoscope of color; and the dawn-dusk alternation, which brings light or the cloak of darkness. Last Thursday brought a different kind of transformation, when a string of storms dumped more than 4 inches of rain overnight, elevating the northeast Illinois streams, and raising the lakes and marshes of Mayslake Forest Preserve to rare levels. Most dramatic was the Mays’ Lake outlet area.

This view down the trail shows how much of the trail became inundated.

This view shows how much of the trail became inundated.

One day later the flood had subsided.

The same viewpoint, 24 hours later.

The same viewpoint, 24 hours later.

As you can see, the culvert that normally feeds the outlet stream was unable to accommodate the outflow.

The pourover reminded me of my whitewater kayaking days, as I imagined running the drop and continuing downstream.

The pourover reminded me of my whitewater kayaking days, as I imagined running the drop and continuing downstream.

Transformations of familiar landscapes change us as well. In the case of a flood, our personal transformations can be tragic and sad, or they can fill us with wonder. The worse outcome, perhaps, is to be totally unmoved by such powerful events.

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