Right now I’m on a plane headed for Chicago (well, technically by the time I post this I’ll already have landed). For some reason the fact that this is a short flight somehow minimizes the anxiety I have about flying. Of course this makes no sense because this plane is just as capable of encountering mechanical problems and crashing to the ground as any I’ve ever been on.
I was even more distracted from my trepidation about flying as we were taking off as I had a good view of the Missouri River. From some distance up the Mighty MO looks like a slip of a stream winding it’s way through plots of farmland. Usually.
The view today is quite different and a good reminder about the power of Mother Nature. It’s been many weeks since the rain and thaw that caused massive flooding in many parts of the heartland. As a city dweller, that drama ended after a couple of weeks, you know, as soon as it stopped being reported as “news”. But just because it’s not being talked about doesn’t mean the story is over.
From today’s vantage point it’s clear. The devastation was, and still is, massive. There are entire fields still under water and you really have to try to see the actual river. It looks more like we are flying over Minnesota, the land of a thousand lakes, than Iowa. There are little patches of land with houses surrounded by water. There are roads where the water runs right up the sides and others that are still submerged.
It’s well past time for planting so all those fields are now useless. Beyond saving for this season and potentially even the next. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have your house or land or livelihood destroyed like that. It’s all a result of a set of circumstances, chief of which is too much precipitation. Record amounts of snowfall over the winter mixed with a quick rise in temps and freakish spring storms.
In my opinion it’s just another example of the earth attempting to ‘put right’ something that is off. Occurrences of extreme weather events is (and has been) increasing over the past decade or more. Things are not in balance in the ocean, atmosphere, jetsteams, or on land. What was a “hundred year flood” has now happened twice in the last 10 years.
This is a short flight, about an hour, and in that time we’ve crossed all of Iowa and it’s seemingly endless miles of patchwork cultivation and crossed over into Illinois. Through some brief holes in the thin layer of fluffy clouds below I can see the farmland has given way to city. We will be landing shortly.
I haven’t been to Chicago since 2008 when I went with my two sisters. It’s the only trip the three of us have ever gone on together (just us). That was an interesting adventure indeed. This time I’m with Jim so it will be a whole different adventure. More on that later I’m sure.
Time to Find Some Chicago Style (🍕),