I have been thinking a lot these past few days about the people of Keithsburg, Illinois, whose town flooded, in part, to try to save the whole town. The Corps blew a levee along a creek to try to take some pressure off the levee along the Mississippi.
We moved near there the next year.
My co-worker that year was a woman whose house had been intentionally sacrificed to save the town, which sat under water for many, many weeks.
I have been thinking about her lately and her family and friends, for obvious reasons, but also because I think there’s this idea setting in that, if only we all pitch in and clean up and get things back how they were that everything will be okay.
And I just want to say, out loud, that that’s not going to happen. We are not going to get things back how they were. You don’t often get a clear demarcation between ‘how things used to be’ and ‘how they are now,’ but we have one.
I’m not saying that things won’t be okay. Eventually they will be.
I’m saying, this is going to fuck us up. Already, people are doing fucked up shit–even if we weren’t having a water shortage, who would water their flowers after all the rain we had this weekend? A person who is doing some fucked up shit, that’s who.
I can’t quite put my mind around how I want to say this. So, this isn’t going to be eloquent.
But here’s the thing. We’re not going back to how it used to be. Even if the physical city ends up looking the same, we have changed. We have changed in ways that will be very fucked up. And it’s okay. Just be aware.
And we need to have mercy on each other about this. The hard part is not what happened over the weekend. The hard part is going to be living with what happened.
Anyway, that’s it.