A river runs through it

This morning I got up, made a cup of tea, leaned against the kitchen counter and took in the view of the river-fed lake below our cabin.

This morning I got up, made a cup of tea, leaned against the kitchen counter and took in the view of the river-fed lake below our cabin.

Then I walked over to another window and had a look at the waterfall tumbling through our garden.

Sounds pretty picturesque, hey? You might even be experiencing a small pang of jealousy. Maybe you’re thinking something like, “Imagine waking up to a river-fed lake view and having your very own waterfall cascading through your garden. That Shannon! She sure is lucky.”

Well, you can put that green monster to bed and smack it on the lips goodnight because we don’t have a lake view.

In fact, up until the last two weeks we had more of a lack view. And we certainly didn’t have a river running by us or a waterfall in our garden. Confused? Just call me Pauline Harvey, because I’m about to tell you the rest of the story.

It’s been raining. A lot.

I never said it was a long story.

The waterfall tumbling through our sloped garden is both unplanned and unappreciated as is the river cascading across our driveway and feeding the lake in the horse and sheep meadow.

It’s common knowledge around here that we get a flooding rain approximately every 10 years. We have lived in our little log house for 13 summers and I only recall looking out over a river-fed lake of this size on three occasions. One was in 2003, one was this morning and the other was two weeks ago. For what it’s worth, I feel the need to point out that a two-week spread is not the same thing as approximately every 10 years.

Up here in the Peace Country we are starting to feel like we’re in a nightmare version of the movie Groundhog Day, destined to keep repeating the same scene over and over. Sand bag, sump pump, mop, and repeat.

The thing about having a drought for so many years is that it’s easy to forget about leaking roofs, seized up sump pumps or installing that drain tile around the house. You can’t very well fix a leaky roof in the middle of a torrential downpour and when the sun is shining, well, the roof isn’t leaking is it? And given the paltry precipitation over the last few years a lot of us started to think it was never going to really rain again. I think it caught a lot of people off guard. More than 10 inches of rain will do that to a person.

Our own little road has yet to be fixed from last time so I’m guessing it stays country quiet for at least a few more weeks. I know it’s a huge inconvenience — not to mention expense — so I feel terrible about feeling happy about it but (whisper) I am.

As for our twice washed out driveway and garden, well I’m not so thrilled about that but they’re pretty small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. The people who have been served a double whammy of water filling their basements to the brim or businesses awash in silt and sewage are the ones who really have something to complain about.

However, the ones who are really whining are the mosquitoes. But they’re whining in high pitched joy. Right now it doesn’t matter where they choose to drop their eggs; everything is so wet they know they’re going to have a 100 per cent hatch.

The other evening I came in from weeding the garden and feeding the mosquitoes, feeling rather pleased with how clean I still was. Usually I’m worse than a kid. I start off carefully kneeling on my special gardening knee pad but before you know it I’m crawling all over the place hunting down weeds and my jeans end up covered in mud and grass stains. I know there are women who wear pretty straw hats, pink gardening gloves and white pants when they garden, but I’m not one of them. However, with the ground wetter than a saturated sponge for once I was careful to stay anchored to my knee pad.

“Hey, check out how clean I am!” I said to Darcy as I passed through the living room.

He looked up, laughed and returned his attention the ball game. And then I caught a glimpse of my face in a mirror. It was covered with streaks of dirt from slapping at mosquitoes with my gloved hands. Sigh. Once a mud magnet always a mud magnet.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace Country. You can read more of her writing at www.shannonmckinnon.com.

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