The top of NZ is flooding.
Not where we are, thank goodness, no swollen rivers, or scary currents with unknown debris lurking under dirty churned up water, no roads hidden under brown water with unseen obstacles.
Here we have gentle comforting rain, a cool freshness.
I know first hand the fierceness of flood water, indiscriminate, powerful, unforgiving.
On the mountain we had two creeks to cross to get home, the big creek and the little creek, often they would flood.
One evening, when we were young children, we returned home, on the cusp of darkness, to find the big creek swollen and raging.
Our family car was an ex army long wheel base Landrover. Perfect for contending with the pot holed gravel roads, rocky uneven creek crossings, rough, often soggy, tracks, climbing the long slippery steep inclines to our house…and forging creeks turned into turbulent powerful churning rivers?
The back of the Landrover made cosy for the children. The cold, standard issue, army metal seats covered with a panel of wood and a foam mattress topped with cosy sheepskins, blankets and pillows.
Our step father put his foot on the brake, we did too when the headlights revealed our big creek, no longer recognisable, swollen up to the trees, dirty brown, branches and other debris speeding by, the powerful current flattening everything in its path.
Home on the other side.
If we didn’t need to cross it, this post would read differently, to me there is something fascinating and hypnotising about flood water, wild and fierce! Captivating.
I recall times when we were flooded in I’d don a rain jacket and gumboots and wander down the track to the creeks. Safely observing. I love. But crossing?
Let me take you back to that night.
Hushed tones in the front seats undiscernable over the roar of the charging water.
Us children, the four of us, peered from amongst the blankets and sheepskins. It’s too high, it will go over the bonnet. Eyes bright.
Our step father, wd40 and hessian bag in hand, opened the bonnet, his head disappeared behind it, as did the fierce churning water, momentary relief like in a scary part of a movie when you cover your eyes, bang, the bonnet back in place, the raging river still there. Higher? Angrier?
Wd40 applied and hessian bag in place our step father slid back into the drivers seat.
An exchanged look in the front seat.
Not a whisper of air released from a single lung in that car.
Rev, rev, forward into the raging river, steady and firm, the water pushed against us and rushed over the bonnet. Eyes wide. Ploughing through, moving forward, the water wanting to push us sideways but strong arms keep us directed toward the distant track on the other side.
Suddenly the vehicle stopped, the engine dead.
Nobody spoke. We could feel the vehicle being pushed sideways. We were in the middle, the fiercest, strongest part, the water seemed angrier at having this new obstacle In its way, determined to go through us, thudding angrily at the drivers side window.
Nobody moved, nobody breathed.
Our step father pushed the ignition button. It started!!! Can you believe it? A miracle? Careful on the accelerator, we moved forward out of the main current, the water happy to see us get out of the way, roared past. An eternity later (seconds) we reached the track on the other side.
Six people, one collective breath, like the car was a giant animal, safe now from a predator.
Do I remember my bed being especially cosy, safe and warm that night?
Have a wonderful day!