In the microcosm of the vineyard, a working knowledge of fluid mechanics is paramount.  Balancing pressure at the head gate with desired output ensures we don’t initiate flooding downstream and opening enough gates to irrigate each row harmoniously is vital.  It ebbs and flows underground as efficiently as it does on the surface.  Sharing with the pear orchard next door is a dance.  If it goes wrong, water could migrate where it need not, we could cause damage to our lower neighbors and ultimately, we could screw up our own crop.  Water can only be contained and manipulated for so long and eventually she will reclaim what was once hers. 

As the Mississippi bulge crests ever southerly, my heart and mind drift to my homeland of deep-south Illinois.  Watching coverage on the news does little justice for the actual damage of property and displacement of families on the ground.  Reared in a town on a bluff, my home was never threatened.  But surrounding farmlands succumbed to inundation nearly every spring.  The real suffering begins when the water recedes and the totality of the damage is assessed. 

The folks you see on television offer only a momentary glimpse into the hardworking and undying spirit within them all.  You may ask yourself why people would continually expose themselves to recurring natural disasters, just build elsewhere, right.  They are fighting because that’s their home, for better or worse.  Their babies were born there, their mothers and fathers lived and died there, they themselves live and die there.  The ghosts of times past hover in the ether, keeping things the same even though they change.  The spiritual connection is tied closely with the physical.  The jungle-thick forested hills and hollers are some of the most intriguing and beautiful I’ve seen.  A libertarian spirit haunts the humidity, a fierce bastion of independent ideals and thoughts have settled in the slag piles of coal.  I left there over 10 years ago and have seldom returned, but think of her often.  I’ve been gone so long I won’t presume understanding, but on some level, I think I do.

My thoughts are with the courageous citizens of Memphis tonight.  It seems the ones displaced just happen to be the ones who are battle hardened by life, the ones who can weather any storm.  As the crest moves toward the gulf and out of our lives, we must keep our fingers crossed for the Crescent City; another flood is the last thing they need.  Much love from Western Colorado.

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