Fire and Flood in the Places I Love

image via

Louisiana. So much water… a luxury to this drought weary California girl who spent a week there visiting the in-laws. I swam in their pool and then took long, hot, guilt free showers. It rained every day and I cheered every time. Even when the thunder and lightning chased us inside, I grinned watching buckets of rain overrun gutters and trenches.

We left the day before the flooding started. If I had known, I wouldn’t have cheered so much when it rained. Right now a large portion of the state is flooding after historic heavy rains. One more flood. One more lost home.

photo via ABC10 news

In Lake County right now, the town of Lower Lake is burning because of the Clayton Fire. I grew up in Lake County and still love that impoverished, isolated, rural county. My heart is broken for the thousands who are hiding out in shelters, not knowing if they have a home to go back to. Last year Middletown caught fire and most of Cobb Mountain burned. Thousands were homeless. The county was just starting to recover, and now this.

The air in Louisiana smells like green grass and moss. Water drips from tree branches even when the sun shines. The ground stays damp and when I walked on my mother-in-law’s back lawn my feet got drenched in muddy water.

In California, the air tastes like matches. The ground is so thirsty, when I walk in my back yard dust rises with every step. This was a good year for rain, but it wasn’t enough to make up for 5 years of drought.

Whatever water gods there might be, send some of that Louisiana rain to Lake County.

No more luxurious showers; I bathe with my feet in my daughter’s tepid bath water while I quickly rinse off with the shower nozzle. I dream of Spanish moss and dragon flies and damp air.

Do people in Louisiana dream of hard earth and dust storms?