When the Water Came
Before the water, we had a bedazzled Techno Contra Dance. At Open Mic I read “The Old Bear.” We had a lively Trivia challenge. I had my critique in the workshop. I ate tomato pie, washed dishes, and snapped beans on the porch. We were bound together, creative, and learning. We were Hindman.
During the water, I sat next to the petite poet who exuded such peace that the therapy dog sought her comfort. In the glare of the emergency lights, I became the watcher. I saw the heroes, the grieving, the helpers. I saw the line of burdened backs slick with rain climbing the hill towards higher ground. During the water, I gave into my exhaustion and fell into a deep sleep.
Through the water, I remembered how to step outside my body during trauma. Compassion fired my heart. I contemplated the brevity of life from the distance of disaster. I remembered gratitude, resilience, and my past days of leadership. Above all, I remembered the comfortable peace of the poet holding space for us all.
Here, after the water, my determination is to keep writing. I shall hold the bright heart of Hindman and all the verdant life, the resilience of the hills, in the light. In these ways, I shall do all I can to support the recovery of the community.
Hereafter, as the water recedes, I shall bear witness.