We’ve had a lot of rain this week in northeastern Iowa. That’s on top of a wet spring. Rivers are flooding. Farm fields stand in water. The creek that runs near the house overflowed its banks, which usually stand 6 feet above the water’s surface, and carved a new channel through the river bottoms. A culvert under the road to a friend’s house clogged with rocks and the water washed out the road. Parts of a nearby town are underwater.
Besides the devastation to infrastructure and peoples’ lives, I was struck by how much soil the storm washed away. This didn’t happen because of irresponsibility or indifference (farmers I know feel sick when they lose topsoil and many routinely use no-till practices) but resulted from some unfortunate timing, and a market economy that pushes farmers to plant as much corn as possible in as many places as possible in order to pay the bills. Also, weather patterns influenced by global climate change don’t help. Can a warmer Arctic really influence weather in Iowa? (Yes, as it turns out. Read about a study describing a North Atlantic blocking pattern and the Arctic Oscillation here.) The butterfly’s wings flutter.
Amy has more poetry at her wonderful place of poetry: The Poem Farm!
Water Under the Bridge
rises over its banks —
roiling brown, packed with
branches, trash, trees. Four inches of
rain fell on saturated soil, pummeling fields
desperately plowed, unplanted, underwater. A
hundred years of prairie toil, the Collected Works of a
bazillion plants, head downstream, plugging the
dammed Mississippi, choking the shrimp in
Plaquemines Parish, feeding the dark
maw of the Dead Zone. Three
more inches predicted
© Steve Peterson
PS. The sun shone brightly today, and I expect things to dry out some if this keeps up. Last year was deep drought. This year, floods. The fire next time? (Hmmm. That’s happening elsewhere…)
BREAKING NEWS! On my morning run I found a crayfish (yup, a crayfish!) half-way across the gravel road near my house, probably ambling from one water filled ditch to the other. Why? Not sure. I think I’ll have to ask the chicken. 🙂 By the way, I helped it along its way, though it was none too happy to be picked up.
Here’s a video of the creek, if you’re interested.