For most of us there are marked, solitary moments in life that you know will permanently alter its direction. Sometimes they are positive–graduations, births–-and sometimes not. This week, I’ve experienced one such moment, a shift in perspective, and it came with the rising waters of the Susquehanna river.
Recent rainfall caused the banks of the Susquehanna and other key rivers throughout the Northeast to overflow, resulting in major flooding in many parts of Pennsylvania and upstate New York, including my hometown of Apalachin, part of the greater Binghamton region.
The water came overnight, and quickly. Thousands were evacuated to hospitals, schools, churches. My own parents and grandmother were evacuated via helicopter. In the photo (from the Press & Sun Bulletin, Binghamton, NY) you can see the severity of the flooding. There are also more photos here. This was Thursday morning and the water didn’t stop rising until late Thursday evening. The brown and green areas at the top and bottom of the photo are corn fields. The corn hadn’t been harvested yet, so it’s about 7 feet tall, which helps illustrate the depth. The Susquehanna, normally about 5 feet deep, exceeded 35 feet Thursday evening at the measuring point closest to my childhood home. That same day, a Federal Emergency was declared.