Madison Monday: The river’s up

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The river is up, but no, that’s not quite right.

flood2 The river is vast and indifferent. When you spot it at the end of the street through the gaps between buildings, you feel that it’s wrong. Your heart beats faster. Your palms sweat. Fight or flight, fight or flight. The river is the bad guy in the horror movie. The river is coming for you.

The river is chewing with its mouth open. It is no longer interested in polite society. If you listen closely, you might hear it belch. The river is letting the crumbs of what it consumes fall freely onto its lap. The river is spitting while it talks.

The river is laughing at us. Not with us. It laughs at the children skirting along its edges. The grown people splashing in its shallows. The river is trying to convince us that it’s all fun and games. Come on down! Come on down! Bring your kayaks and your swimsuits! Bring your cameras and your fishing poles! The river is laying a trap. The river is waiting to eat us alive.

Ohio River floodingThe river is relentless. The river is tired of winter. The river doesn’t believe in the old gospel tune– “No more water, the fire next time.”

The river is lonely. It wants to pay us a visit. It wants to stay as long as it can. The river wants room service and someone else to wash the sheets for once.

The river doesn’t care about your attempts to describe it. To make it knowable. To wrap it in words.

The river is.

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