Watered In

High and still dry

In the end, practicality won out over aesthetic appeal, and the powers-that-be installed recycled plastic benches along our marina’s walkways.

Less attractive but more comfortable than the previous teak and metal benches, they serve their purpose admirably. Dog walkers, boaters, sunset-watchers, and elderly residents who’ve misjudged their stamina vie for empty spots. Friendly though the competition may be, it’s competition nonetheless.

The bench nearest my apartment serves an additional function. Close to a corner where wind and tides swirl and eddy, it’s the place in the marina where every sort of flotsam collects. In addition to wooden planks, leaves, and pollen, the corner occasionally captures the odd styrofoam cooler, boat fenders, life jackets, and — just once — an escaped kayak.

When tides are high enough for useful items to be retrieved, they’re usually picked up and left near the bench for anyone who can use them. The life ring propped on the bench above was only the latest example. When I saw it, I assumed the polypropylene line holding it to a boat had distintegrated and set it free..

As the weather began to turn ahead of Hurricane Harvey’s arrival, the life ring disappeared from the bench. I thought, rather idly and with a certain grim humor, that it might have been wise to find another line and tie the life ring to the bench. Only later would I discover how appropriate that would have been.

South Shore Harbor wasn’t always an upscale neighborhood with a conference center and a fancy marina. Decades ago, before the developers arrived, the natural hurricane hole filled with work boats and shrimpers seeking to ride out the inevitable storms in safety. Today, if space is available, recreational boaters from around the lake will move into the marina, and it serves them just as well.

As Harvey’s rains began, the protected waters rippled lightly, but the winds that had devastated the middle Texas coast never arrived. Protected from the east and the south, the marina remained almost placid: except, of course, for the rain.

As the hours passed and the rain continued, the brick walkway filled with water, and the water level in the harbor began to rise. A lone snowy egret appeared, walking the still-accessible planks as it searched for tidbits.

In spite of the gathering darkness, its “golden slippers” fairly gleamed.

Before long, some mallards joined the party, apparently undisturbed by the rising waters.

In time, as water covered the promenade, they began to swim off, leaving the bench to fend for itself and leaving some humans to wonder, “How much higher is this going to go?”

It wasn’t long before we had our answer. At one point, the entire bench disappeared beneath the water, providing an illusion of lakefront property.

 

As the water rose and the availability of land diminished, displaced creatures began to gather on the lawn. The gulls tended to cluster,

while the mallards, apparently unconcerned, preened in the shallows.

On the other hand, not every duck seemed happy. This pretty Muscovy/mallard cross seemed quite cross as he crossed the flooded sidewalk, stomping his way through the rain.  I sympathized. He seemed to know that, like the humans around him, he was “watered in” — constrained by the forces of the storm to make do until it passed.

I first heard the phrase “watered in” from a friend in the Texas hill country. Living atop a ridge in flash flood country, she often found herself perfectly dry but unable to travel: not unlike my own experience during Harvey’s pass through town.

Trying to travel in the midst of a flood never is a good idea, as this fellow discovered.

A deer swimming across a marina isn’t a usual sight, to say the least. After checking out the docks and finding them inaccessible, he finally emerged on land and considered his options. Going back into the water, he began swimming down a smaller channel where he had access to a ramp and could make his way to a more congenial environment: perhaps the golf course across the street.

During the two-day period of continual and torrential rains, the relentless pounding clearly began to wear on everyone. This little dove finally overcame her fear and landed on my balcony. After discovering some dry seed and making a bit of a glutton of herself, she hopped into the shelter of a schefflera and promptly went to sleep.

And this young mallard hen?  Still a teenager with not-quite-developed wings, she seemed unsure about the world she hatched into. I wouldn’t be surprised if her question wasn’t the same question being asked by multitudes of humans: “When is this going to stop?”

In another day or so, of course, it did stop — at least for these harbor dwellers. The seagulls began flying, the dog-walkers began walking, the humans began congratulating one another for having survived it all, and the wonderful plastic benches emerged from their bath none the worse for wear.

As the system moved away, the wind shifted into the northwest and the clouds began to part. In fewer than six hours, the combination of wind and tide dropped the water in the harbor by nearly six feet and bits of thrilling blue sky began to appear.

By sunset of the sixth day, a warm golden light suffused the harbor, and the waiting bench had dried.

Of course, no one has taken the time to sit down. We still have things to do.

High and finally dry

 

Comments always are welcome.

 

162 thoughts on “Watered In

    1. I’m blessed, indeed, Elizabeth. Hundreds of thousands of people have suffered much more. The flooding won’t be over for some time, and some of my favorite towns on the coast never will be the same. For that matter, many of my friends and neighbors have a long road back. But here, too, it will get better. Thank you for your prayers.

    1. There are wonderful stories of rescue, support, and caring — one for each story of grief and horror. Some of the less savory among us have started moving into towns that were destroyed in order to steal and loot, but they’ll be dealt with one way or another. Most people are extending kindness to everyone they meet, and more people than you can imagine are smiling, just because of the blue sky and sunshine.

    1. I can’t tell you how many times I gave thanks for being on the third floor. During Hurricane Ike’s storm surge, the water reached the very edge of the first-floor apartments shown in the “lake South Shore” photo, but even then it didn’t get in. Hurricane holes: they aren’t just for boats any more!

      Being cooped up for five days wasn’t a pleasure, but I was well prepared. Not losing power (except for an afternoon) was the biggest blessing. River flooding and levee breaks are going to be an issue for some time to come, and it will be a while before rebuilding can begin. Right now, it’s all clean up and mold removal. Oh — and battles with mosquitos.

    1. Everyone’s story is different. If I had been five miles to the east, ten miles south, or ten miles west, my story would have been quite different. And I thought more than once about how the absence of my mother changed my approach to this storm. If she still were alive, we would have evacuated. As it was, I made the decision to stay put, and it was the right decision.

    1. After I came to terms with the reality that I’d be stuck in place for the duration, I decided to use the time to advance a few projects I’ve had lying about. Of course, that didn’t happen. The progress of the storm and its historical nature was so compelling I couldn’t stop watching. So, I decided I might as well get out the camera, and see what I could see. It turned out to be more interesting than I thought possible.

      When I went to work yesterday, I checked the tree where I found the herons during the eclipse. They all were in place on their branches, sleeping and preening.

  1. Very well expressed account! I’m sure there will be plenty of things to do over the next year or so just to recover to the minimum degree. I’m glad that you were just “watered in”!

    1. That’s a realistic assessment, Terry. Where Harvey made landfall, a year surely won’t be enough. We’re flooded, but the infrastructure’s in place and only needs repair. Down the coast, in towns like Rockport and Port Aransas, they have no water, sewer, or electricity, and the delivery systems have been destroyed.

      There may be more history to come. The NWS has noted that the San Bernard river may become part of the Brazos and Colorado: a so-called “drainage jump” that has happened in the past. In 1913, perhaps Brazoria County’s most severe flood, the waters of the Colorado, San Bernard and Brazos rivers combined to cover land from far beyond the county’s western boundary as far east as Alvin. It’s going to be a while before I can return to my beloved wildlife refuges.

  2. As a hot north wind blows dust across the landscape here Downunder, it’s great to read your account from your window. So very glad you have survived to tell the tale.

    1. In truth, we’ve been very lucky when it comes to casualities. Any death is a grief, but given the scope of this event, from a terrible landfall to historic flooding across a wide swath of the country, it could have been so much worse. Now, the task is to begin restoring the life of the true survivors who have their lives, but not much else.

  3. It seems that in your neck of the waters, the flooding wasn’t as serious as elsewhere. On our TV during news broadcast we saw almost nothing but devastation in Texas with people being rescued by boats or hoisted up into helicopters.
    Many just waded through waters carrying bird cages or dogs. There is a big job ahead for so many people.

    1. Actually, Gerard, I’m right in the middle of some of the worst of it. You may have seen reports from Dickinson, where a group of elderly people in a nursing home waited for rescue in waist-deep water, and flotillas of boats went up and down the street plucking people from their homes and from atop cars. That’s about five miles from me.

      The destruction’s so widespread and severe, it’s unimaginable. On the other hand, not everyone suffered the same degree or the same sort of damage. A friend in Rockport lost her town, while I lost my electricity for five hours. Every storm is different, and everyone’s experience of a given storm is different. I could write about someone else’s experience of Harvey, but what would be the point of that? My five days of being watered in were quite different from my evacuation for Rita, the rebuilding after Allison, or the business loss after Ike, but this was my experience of Harvey. I suppose I’ll always remember it as the “ducks and covered” storm!

  4. Linda,

    I’m so relieved to know you’re on high ground and came through the ordeal safe and dry, and what more, produce these photos of birds in the flood. I’ve not imagined photos like these. And pics of that snowy egret are so poetic. Some bird. Thanks for sharing these images that I’ve never seen anywhere else over the media.

    1. The only reason I was able to get these photos was that I was both sheltered and in an area where conditions concentrated the birds. Most of these were taken from a stairwell — there was no way I’d take my camera out in the rain, even when it turned to drizzle. It helped that I was facing north for most of these photos, and the wind was from the south or southeast, letting the building serve as a wind-and-rain-break.

      As for not seeing images like this on the media — well, the so-called mainstream media wouldn’t have been interested. There’s not enough drama in them. But as time goes on, more and more photos like this will emerge. There are a lot of nature photographers around here who know how to deal with adverse conditions. Still, I’m pleased with these. The egret’s beautiful, but the ducks were funny, and provided a good bit of amusement over the days.

      1. In a situation like that anything upbeat would be entertaining — and ducks are always upbeat about more water. :) Your photos of the egret remind me our Helen’s many FL salt marsh photos over at Tiny Lessons Blog. It’s incredible that some birds have “golden” boots and some others have neon green.

    1. Despite the dislocations, damage, and suffering, there are many uplifting stories. Some won’t be told until a little more time has passed and people can take a breath. Right now, it’s time for pulling sheetrock, fighting mold, and making sure everyone has a dry place and something to eat. Thanks for the good wishes — I’m glad I’m okay, too!

    1. I didn’t personally see any alligators, although I did advise the deer to get out of the water and not risk meeting one himself. On the other hand, there was this little guy in a driveway not far away. We’re all going to be extra careful until this water goes down. I saw a photo of several Texas Parks and Wildlife guys (and perhaps a Trooper or two — I can’t remember) taking down a twelve foot gator. They were all lined up along his back, just like baby gators.

  5. “Watered in” terminology new to me but most appropriate. Enjoyed your unique account of viewing Harvey featuring how the creatures were effected. Photos tell the story and the bench does put the waters depth in perspective. Enjoyed reading of these survivals.

    1. “Watered in” is a variation on the “snowed in” that I grew up with. We occasionally were “iced in” when I lived in Iowa, but that became much more frequent once I moved to Texas. Of course, being snowed or iced in down here is something different. An inch of snow leads to chaos on the roads, as does any amount of ice.

      I had the title for this post long before the storm arrived, even though I had no idea which direction the content would take. I’d experienced being watered in a time or two in the hill country, but never expected it to happen here. The phrase turned out to be exactly right, and I’m glad you enjoyed the description of the experience.

  6. This is wonderful. I was there, watching it ebb and flow.
    I can imagine the ‘tale’ developing in your mind as you took all those photos.
    And very clever of the ‘powers-that-be’ to anchor those benches, firmly, so that they didn’t float away!

    1. To be honest, the benches no doubt were secured partly to prevent middle-of-the-night theft, but it certainly worked out well when the flood waters arrived. On the other hand, there may have been people making decisions about the new benches who’d been through Ike, and who had seen the waters rise to cover all of that green lawn. It wouldn’t take much intelligence to figure out what would happen in a similar situation.

      Actually, I had no idea what I was going to write when I was taking the photos. I simply focused on trying to get some decent pictures. It was later, as I was sorting through them, that the narrative began to develop. It was an interesting process.

  7. I have been thinking of you dear Linda, Thanks God, you are fine. I watched on the tv news. I am glad to hear that it’s over now. But you took amazing photographs, they are all documents now. I am so glad to hear you, Thank you, have a nice and dry days, Love, nia

    1. The rain has ended here, even though people farther east and west will have river flooding to contend with for some time. In the neighborhoods surrounding me, the recovery process has begun, and the streets are stacked high with everything from appliances to wet sheet rock. It’s a terrible process, but a necessary one — and all those piles of debris are a first step toward recovery.

    1. Friko, thank you so much. It’s a different sort of grief these storms cause, but it’s grief nonetheless: enervating and unavoidable. The sunshine and activity do help. With each board tossed toward a pile and each meal shared, the load begins to lighten, just a bit.

  8. Wow! That was some flood you have. I love the series of photos.

    I’ve just been watching the world news, including the floods in various areas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey only 10-15 minutes ago. I’m glad to hear you’re safe, even if work at the marina was a distant thought.

    1. It’s strange to see the roads perfectly dry and the ditches only half-full in areas I regularly travel, given that only a week ago everything was under water. The towns where Harvey came ashore will have a much harder time recovering. Towns that were favorite sailing destinations are significantly damaged or wiped off the map. I’ve written about many of those places, and it’s hard to think of customers and friends left with so little. I’ve seen photos of the boats in a couple of ports, and the destruction truly is terrible.

      On the other hand, it’s objectively no worse than what we experienced here when Ike struck, and we recovered from that. They’ll recover, too. It just takes time and a lot of support.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Derrick. I’ve had less happy experiences with tropical storms and hurricanes, and I was pleased to escape this one. I couldn’t help thinking that a paraphrase from Yeats suits:

      Cast a cold eye
      On life, on death.
      Harvey, pass by!

    1. Speaking of humor, a friend suggested this afternoon that if he were going to write a book about Harvey, he’d title it, “Mold, Mosquitoes, and Margaritas.” At the time, he was toting about the 400th load of wet sheetrock out to the curb — points for good attitude, I’d say! Some of the humor I’ve heard reminds me of the wartime humor you present on your blog occasionally. That makes sense, since there’s clearly a battle going on here.

    1. Thanks so much. RadarScope, AM radio, and the twitter feeds of various meteorologists and governmental officials were all the information I needed during the storm. Having forsworn television, I not only missed the hype, I had a little extra time on my hands to look outdoors and see what was happening. I hope I never have such a chance again, but if I do, I’ll be ready for it.

  9. I’m so happy to see your post today and know you made it through the hurricane—I wasn’t sure exactly where you live. Your post is beautiful and I laughed out loud at the photo of young mallard. Using the bench for your starting point and ending illustrates perfectly the flooding in your area.

    1. This has been an unusual storm in many ways. Galveston, about 23 miles south of me, came through relatively unscathed. With the eye coming ashore so far down the coast, the winds weren’t terribly destructive, and there wasn’t a storm surge to speak of. The rain total on the island was only half of what I experienced, and my 42″ total still was nearly ten inches less that a few miles north. Now, Galveston ferries are running, they’re taking in evacuees, and they’re inviting people to come to The Island for Labor Day. It’s amazing, really.

      I love that young mallard. The inquisitive, sideways tilt of her head is just charming. As for the bench, I can guarantee you I never expected to see it go completely under. I still can’t get over that.

  10. Linda, thanks for this post. How wonderful you have a stable image (the bench) to help chart the rising waters and a great view. Fascinating chronicle of life and wildlife in the storm. Glad you were safe, glad the water is going down and that wind didn’t add to the damage people suffered.

    1. I’m with you on that triple glad, Jeanie. We’re all glad for the sunshine, too.

      I was out and about today over a wider area, and the water was nearly gone from the roads. In Houston proper it’s more complicated, thanks in part to so many underpasses and so much concrete. The need to continue releasing water from the reservoirs on the west side is contributing to even more flooding over there — but even so, things are improving.

      I’m glad I decided to stay put. It was the right decision for a number of reasons, and gave me the chance to do some wildlife watching as a bonus.

    1. A great blue heron stopped by at one point, too, but I didn’t get his photo because I didn’t have a card in my camera. I wasn’t entirely organized through this whole process. I’m glad you liked this one, though. Thanks for the good thoughts.

      I noticed your post about the storm, and have a couple of thoughts. I agree with you, but I’ll post there rather than here. Suffice it to say that the impulse to give always is to be celebrated, but it needs to be shaped to fit the circumstances.

    1. It is a little disorienting. We’re accustomed to hurricanes making landfall, moving inland, dumping rain, and then dissipating. This one made landfall, wrecking the middle coast, and then made a sideways move toward us rather than heading inland. With part of its circulation drawing energy from the Gulf, it turned into one heck of a rainmaker even though we didn’t get winds or surge.

      The rivers and reservoirs simply couldn’t hold all that rain, and I suppose it was inevitable that some levees would breach. I’m really impressed with the Flood District’s management of this. Keeping the Addicks and Barker reservoirs under control has been quite a feat. Now, we’ll see what happens to the rivers. Some are predicting that the Brazos, Colorado, and San Bernard will form one great flood plain. I think it’s going to be a good long while before anyone visits the refuges again.

  11. I enjoyed this story a lot. And would never have expected you to get all these great shots.
    The egret is beautiful, but I love the grumpy, hunched-over duck, and that quizzical-looking young one! I am glad your “hurricane hole” came through in good shape.
    One of my cousins and his family live in Katy, but their house is ok, I haven’t heard yet how the kids’ schools did.

    1. The Katy ISD is starting classes on the 11th. A few districts are starting on the 5th, but most are giving it another week.

      Mr. Grumpy and that quizzical young ‘un are two of my favorites, but I’m equally taken with the dove. She and another dove that may be her mate have been back every day since the storm. When they aren’t perched on my railing, they’re often resting in a palm tree not far away.

      I was glad to have so many birds around while I was waiting it out. A hundred photos of blinding rain wouldn’t have been nearly so interesting.

  12. I really liked your personal account of the storm and its effects. This caught my attention: the phrase “watered in” During winter storms we get the feeling of being snowed in. There is no road outside of town safe to travel. You remain hunkered down for the duration.

    I’m glad you made it through. Many others didn’t fare so well.

    1. When I was growing up in Iowa, being snowed in was exciting, and pleasurable, filled with anticipation of books, fires in the fireplace, hot chocolate, and days free of school. My mother thought the snow was pretty, and my dad liked making the occasional snowman, but they got restless long before I did.

      Even though my home is secure, my life will be directly impacted. The farm in Dickinson where I pick vegetables and get my eggs is in bad shape. The local cafe I most frequent had several feet of water inside. The wildlife refuges I love — Brazoria, San Bernard, Anahuac — will be inaccessible for some time because of river flooding and its effects. My favorite coastal towns are destroyed, and several friends have homes that are severely damaged or destroyed. The scope of this one goes beyond anything I’ve seen or thought I ever would see. I certainly hope never to experience it again.

      1. I read that the drainage of flooded areas will be very slow through the bayous since the region is flat and had bedrock close to the surface. Here, we get drained in a few days or a week and are mostly back to normal after a heavy rain. Small rivers drop quickly.

        1. I was intrigued by your mention of bedrock. I’ve never heard that mentioned in any discussion of coastal bayou drainage. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t play a role, but even the water management sorts I’ve heard give presentations never have mentioned it. There may be something there I’ve missed.

          Other factors that play large roles in the Houston area are wind and tide. If a strong south or southeast wind is blowing, the level of water in the bay can rise by two, three, or even more feet as water gets pushed in from the Gulf. If rain starts to fall, and it can’t escape through the bay to the Gulf, it’s going to keep rising inland. If excessive rain falls and can’t escape quickly enough through the bay, places inland are going to flood.

          The night that Harvey passed to our east, and the winds switched to the northwest, the water dropped by perhaps eight feet in only four hours or so. When I went to bed about ten, water still was lapping at the bench seats. At 2:30 a.m., give or take, the water was at least four feet below the marina walkway, and the sidewalk nearly was dry.

          People farther downstream said the current picked up speed by two or three knots, and water literally poured out of the area. In the winter, under strong north or west winds, Clear Lake can be completely emptied out, with only the dredged channels holding water. It’s something to see, especially when all the sailboats hit bottom and start tilting at a 45 degree angle.

          All the bayous I’ve crossed in the past two days have been well within their banks — sometimes not even halfway to the top. The rivers are giving problems, and the reservoirs are still an issue, but they, too, are very slowly falling, and the word is official: if your house hasn’t flooded, it won’t.

          Of course, it’s also worth noting that this was a bit more rain than anyone in the country ever has seen. Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange, a hundred miles away from Houston, also received more than 40″ of rain and went under. They were three hundred miles from the spot where Harvey came ashore. Amazing.

          1. Thanks for those details. I would be noticing those movements of water correlated to storms and winds and tides if I lived there. It would be interesting to see the patterns and cycles.

            I don’t know anything about the bedrock issue. There is rock down there somewhere. Whether it is close to the surface, I don’t know. I need to ask my geologist friend.

            We stayed at our son’s house last December in the Tacoma area. He has a waterfront that flows back and forth with the tides. I enjoyed watching it.

  13. A fine post – another reminder of why life outside the window is more compelling than any TV. I’m very glad you’re ok.

    Texas has a long road ahead of it, but I’m heartened by some of the radio stories of volunteers organizing themselves and doing what needs to be done, just like your explanation of loaves and fishes multiplied through sharing. (That really sticks with me.)

    1. I can’t help recalling the phrase from Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse: “it is the view from the third storey window that delights me.” For this storm, I had both a lighthouse and a third storey window, and it was in its own way delightful.

      The “Texas spirit” can be as much myth as reality, but it’s the reality that’s shining just now. I’ve never forgotten something I once heard an old rancher say: “If something needs doing, you’ve got two choices. You can sit around and talk it to death, or you can do it.” There’s a whole lot of “doing” going on right now.

      I love that you remember that post, but now I have a hankering for graham crackers.

    1. Waiting for the storm to end was difficult for everyone. Now, people are getting some sleep, some supplies, and new energy. It’s going to be a long road back, but it’s entirely possible that we’ll build something better.

      You’ll be glad to know that all of the libraries in the area will be open on September 5, although a couple of newsletters will be late. Power outages and flooded out staff will do that!

    1. What a nice surprise! Thank you for thinking of me, but thanks especially for stopping by. I hope all’s well with you, too. I often think of you because of your paintings, and hope you’re still creating, in one way or another. Some Arizona-like dryness wouldn’t be so bad right about now; if you’re still there and have some extra, send it over.

  14. Glad you survived being watered in and shared your unique perspective with us through your words and camera. Love that inquisitive tilt of the had in that last duck portrait. I’m amazed that your immediate area didn’t suffer more damage.

    1. Around here, elevation is everything. Because the land is so low and so flat, even a foot higher or lower can make quite a difference. Not even two miles away, there are restaurants and other businesses that are gutted now because they sit next in a low spot next to a bayou, and at least two feet of water rolled in. The relatively good news is that they rebuilt for flooding after Hurricane Ike, with no wood but a lot of concrete, tile, and stainless. Cleanup will be a pain, but I don’t think much reconstruction will be necessary. Live and learn, indeed.

      I love that little duck. She was a friendly sort, and not at all camera-shy.

    1. Thank you, Janet. I hope conditions are better than this in your part of the world, and that you’re enjoying some hints of fall. I suspect it won’t be long now before you start seeing some color: in the grasses, if not the trees. We’ll take anything that isn’t mud-colored.

  15. You continue to impress me with your story-telling, yarn-spinning (albeit the truth) abilities! Reading your account of happenings from the bird and waterfowl points of view gave me momentary relief from the PHSD-post hurricane stress disorder-I’ve been experiencing since the first prediction of hurricane Harvey. Even though I can empathize with all the victims, I wasn’t able to watch much of the news coverage as the events unfolded. This is the first time I have been able to put a description to what comes over me when there is a threat of a storm in the Gulf every year since 2008. But hurricane Harvey forced me to give it a name. I’m glad you’re high and still dry, and I’m glad you’re safe, and I know that there’s lots of work to be done. Let me know if you need anything I can help with, even if it is a getaway!

    1. Your comment about PHSD is interesting. I was surprised by my visceral reaction yesterday as I drove through flooded neighborhoods on my way to a friend’s house. It’s been long enough now for the debris piles to become quite large, and my first thoughts weren’t of Ike or Rita, but of Allison. That was the storm I stayed for, and I think experiencing a storm of any sort imprints us in a way far deeper than returning after an evacuation — no matter how much destruction we find when we return.

      I think that finding sources of news other than television is good during events like this, too. I was able to get all the hard news I needed from radio and specific meteorologists and counties I follow on Twitter. It’s easy to control the information flow on Twitter, and the nature of the site generally suits me. During the storm, I “muted” everyone I follow except those concerned with the storm. Eventually, the Paris Review and Arts & Literature Daily will be back in my timeline, but not for a while.

      This will interest you. Eagle Point Marina sent out one of their boats to see if there was any bait around. They came back with about a dozen croakers, and a quart of shrimp. There’s been so much fresh water pouring through the bay system there’s no good salt water until you get to the Gulf. Needless to say, the fishes’ home isn’t in the best shape, either. Check this out.

  16. From your line ” the waters rippled lightly” to the phrase “bits of blue sky”, you gave us a capsulated version of hurricane Harvey. The bewildered animal life, adjusting to the rising waters, the disappearing humans who suspected what was coming, all gave us a wonderful and safer view of what you and so many others lived through this past week. Life always seems to swing from one extreme to another with no help from us. You captured some great photos during the deluge.

    1. It’s a dehydrated post, Kayti. Just add water, and you’d have your very own flood. Of course, from what I’ve read about your heat wave, a litle extra water from the Texas coast couldn’t hurt anything. You certainly have your own extremes to worry about, and I suspect there are a good many humans and animals hunkered down there, too.

      I remember my initial reaction to Bay Area weather. For some time after I arrived, there were days and weeks of blue skies and lovely temperatures. Eventually, I found myself wishing for something — anything — to happen, like a nice thunderstorm. Right now, some non-extreme, even boring weather would be nice.

      1. It looks like the extreme –107–heat may be over at least for awhile. Back to the 80’s and 90’s now. We have AC, but it was so nice to have several younger neighbors stop in to see if we were OK. People caring about people. It is fire season too and with so much heat, things are dry as bones. Fires apparently everywhere. People I talk to even from Oregon say the smoke is very bad.
        I agree about the old “normal” weather. You could count on certain times when it got hot, but for the most part it was the same old same old. Rain on the roof wold be most welcome right now.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Dor. Having the birds around certainly provided a nice diversion during those long, rainy days. It was fun watching their responses to the weather and to one another. At one point, there might have been a hundred mallards gathered together. Today, they’ve dispersed, and only the usual small groups are floating around: a half-dozen here, three or four there. I’m sure all the birds are happy for the sunshine and warmth, although there no doubt are some very hungry birds out there — especially the insect eaters.

  17. (Been by a couple of times, but unable to respond on tiny phone keys.)

    I wonder if long before TV, internet, maybe even radio, more would have taken this perspective. Looking at the natural experience as a whole.
    The storm was mesmerizing. Got little done that I’d planned, but you had a much better view. May be plastic, but the colors and contrast of the bench and its’ surrounding make a pretty scene.

    The marina was jammed on our side, too (my pix not very good due to rain) They moved out quickly it seems – Back as living quarters to Rockport or Corpus area? Have to grieve and worry over all the small towns that are so full of heritage and history – towns they never mention.

    You managed some terrific shots – those should be published somewhere as nature’s riding out the storm. That duck! (We would dash down to the island a couple times of day to check the water – once the level went down so the boardwalk was back, a bunch of ducks were taking advantage of it – and quacking loudly at us as if complaining their dinners from tourists/boaters had been interrupted.

    Whew. Luck of the location. Not far from either of us a whole different scene. Headed into town later today – will give you an update on the area later. Friends in Meyerland and Westbury say while the images on TV are stunning – seeing it with your eye is even more of a shock

    1. I was in the country near Angleton yesterday, and came home across the whole of 517 through Dickinson. It was an awful sight. I have a friend near the JCC in Bellaire whose house flooded, and one in Meyerland near Brays who had water near but not in the house. Lucky woman, that one.

      Did you happen to see Eric Berger’s piece in the Chronicle today? Like Lindner, he’s garnered a lot of credibility and respect through this, and I was pleased with his comment that he intends to keep writing about these issues.

      A friend made the additional point last night that the way this has cut across every socio-economic level means that some of the movers and shakers got to experience Harvey, too. It wasn’t just the east side or the lower bay shrimpers who were flooded. If they can be pressured a bit, it wouldn’t hurt. Groups like BakerRipley are in a position to do it.

      Wherever the boats go, Rockport’s not going to be it. One of the fishing guides down there called in a report yesterday morning, and there’s nothing left: no water, no sewer, no electricity, and very few structures. I know the oak at Goose Island made it, but the Fulton Mansion’s badly damaged. There are before and after photos in the slide show here.

      I wonder if Harvest Moon will be cancelled this year, or if they’ll choose a different destination? They need to acknowledge what’s happened in some way, given the history.

      1. It’s pretty bad in so many place. Once again, we were so lucky – and not far away, there’s mounds of former walls and furniture. I’ll read that article – been doing a little yard debris cleanup for some Old Guys (HAHA – older than us anyway). Glad to her about the oak! Rockport sounds like Palcious after Carla. We stayed on the main roads yesterday and saw very little real damage – but I know only a few blocks in almost any direction over it’s terrible. Was former mayor White’s house the one on the bayou? My neighbor was saying some former mayor built way up in Memorial, but didn’t get spared. The Villages and Memorial drive area – real shock for many to be like Meyerland this time.
        And tell me once again why it is a good idea to tunnel under downtown for I45 and I59? I mean other than big developers pushing that so they can have areas with parks for the communities they are planning once that’s underway. Greed, “friends” in the permitting/planning offices is partly responsible for all this – people have been warning for a long time this was going to happen. I know Boston has that great tunnel system and the harbour area, but it’s not normally in Hurricanes’ bullies eye like we are.
        It is Sept. I wonder what they will do about Harvest Moon. (Maybe an event locally to raise money for the smaller coastal areas impacted?)

    1. Thanks so much. I could have driven around and taken a few photos of debris piles and destroyed homes, but who needs more of that? I’m glad you enjoyed this way of seeing a different aspect of the storm.

  18. Glad to hear you made it okay. I have a half-brother in Houston, who also ducked the worst of it, but it sounds like quite a mess. While reading your piece and enjoying the photographs, I remembered being told that animals will huddle together in water during a forest fire and fierce foes will endure one another for the duration of the fire. I’m not sure if it’s true, but it sure is an interesting image to ponder.

    1. I’m glad for your family members. The damage has been complete in some areas, and spotty in others. I have three friends who live more or less directly across the lake from me, all in the same town. One had no damage. One had no damage to her home, but has been without internet and phone for a week. The third, closer to the water, had a foot of water in her home, no power, and no way to get out for a day or so. There’s already a song parody making the rounds called, “What a difference a foot makes; only twelve little inches…”

      I don’t know about various species huddling together during a fire, but one thing’s been obvious through this experience. No one was asking political affiliation or legal status before plucking someone from the water. No one’s refusing to offer water to someone of a different color, or making snide remarks about lack of preparations. We’re currently living in the most pleasant, polite, and helpful town I’ve ever experienced. Houston drivers allowing others in line before them, and Houstonians being infinitely patient in grocery and gas lines, is our version of the lion and the lamb. May it continue!

  19. It’s so good to hear that you are okay. It’s nice to be be able to see up close impact of the storm in your neighborhood, and how the birds and animals reacted. The pictures of the bench and egret are so artistic.

    1. I have to say I enjoyed watching the birds during the storm, and I certainly was startled by the deer. There were a few reports of alligators, but that really isn’t so unusual here. Snakes dropping out of trees was a part of the experience I was just as happy to miss.

      My telephoto lens certainly served me well. Had it not been for that lens, none of these photos would have been possible. It allowed me to stay sheltered from the rain, and still take pictures. I’m glad you like the egret. I’m fond of those two photos myself.

    1. I thought you’d like the birds, Dana. They were a delight to watch, despite the circumstances.
      I confess I’ve already checked to be sure that your town’s well inland. Irma coming ashore is the last thing we need. I’ve got friends in in both North and South Carolina, and I’ll be happier when I see that one start to recurve out to sea.

      Has Ellen posted her status on Facebook? I went over to see if she’d made her page public, but it’s not. I read today that the Colorado and San Bernard had jumped their watershed boundaries: something that hasn’t happened since 1913.

      1. Oops – I’m just now reading this. By now you know Ellen’s story – not the best but not the worst. We did get a lot of rain & some high winds, but nothing very out of the ordinary for a big storm for us. Much relieved!

        1. I’m relieved, too. My friend in Charleston was mightily surprised by all the wind and rain they got, but she’s far enough away from the rivers and such that they didn’t flood. Power loss? Sure. But it came back on.

  20. 9 TRILLION gallons of water. Like you guys didn’t already have your fair share. Like most disasters of this ilk, it has consisted of a couple of days of terror and panic followed by months of long, hard, uphill slog to try to put one’s life back together and get back to some sort of normalcy again. Damage to property can be measured. The damage to lives, hopes, ambitions, and dreams is incalculable.

    1. As bad as the flooding is, the images that are beginning to filter out from Rockport and Fulton are heartbreaking. One of our most beautiful historical landmarks, the Fulton mansion, was badly damaged, along with many of the oaks. The damage to the cities is indescribable.

      I don’t have a clue what that destruction in the middle of the hummingbirds’ migration path is going to mean. Once things settle a bit, I’m sure we’ll know more about that. It’s going to be a year to hang hummingbird feeders, that’s for sure. I saw a mention of the whooping cranes, too. Twenty miles north, and the Aransas Wildlife Refuge would have been in even bigger trouble. Rebuilding houses is important, but rebuilding habitat will be equally so.

      I don’t think you have kin directly on the rivers in Brazoria, but you might be interested in today’s county press conference.
      And for more good news? Frobergs’ Farm is open. Hallelujah.

  21. Beautiful post. Loved the photos… especially the wildlife. Such experiences always renew our perspective of life and the world around us, and remind us that we can’t take things for granted. Thank you.

    1. I suspect we have a few hundred thousand people in our city who understand more deeply now that taking things for granted can be an iffy proposition. It’s an obvious lesson, but one that all of us have to learn over and over again.

      Despite the circumstances — and partly because of them — it was great fun to spend some time with the birds, and interesting to watch their reactions. The little dove still is coming every day with her mate to drink and bathe before moving back to the palm trees for the night. It’s always nice to make a new friend in the midst of a disaster.

  22. I’m glad you weathered the storm, Linda. This is a beautiful summary incorporating not only your but also so many creatures’ viewpoints. Amazing photos here, especially of the deer and the dove! Wise of your city fathers to put plastic benches to withstand weather issues. I didn’t realize your area was so protected on two sides — what a blessing! Being higher up never hurts either.

    1. I can’t tell you how astonished I was to look up and see that deer swimming across the marina. I heard later that there had been a lot of deer rescued: particularly fawns that had made it to high ground. Some will have perished for one reason or another, but we’re in no danger of being short of deer. There are other creatures that will have a much harder time, like the hummingbirds. There’s hardly a flower blooming at this — hummingbird feeders will be more important that usual this year. Plenty of sunshine and warmth may allow the plants to recover, of course. I certainly don’t know what’s going to happen. It will be interesting to watch.

      As for the protection — it worked out well this time. In the winter, when the winds howl in from the north and the west it’s a different story. But those winds don’t arrive with feet of rain in their suitcase.

  23. It was so cool to discover that ducks have expressions and can stomp and sulk. Great photos and an enjoyable post! The devastation that the heart of that storm brought is unimaginable, trillions of pounds of water pouring down. I can’t but think daily of the work ahead. The closest thing we have here to that is a tornado touching down or a brief straight wind. That’s damage enough, for most folks. But that is dwarfed by Hurricane Harvey…

    1. Well, after all: how would you like to have your weekend plans washed out by a big rain on your pond? You might sulk a little, too!

      After some experience with these storms, I finally figured out that one of the best coping techniques is never to think of the full scope of the work ahead — at least not in the beginning. An old man named Varnish John gave me some great advice after Hurricane Ike. As he put it, recovering from a ‘cane is easy. You just start where you can start, and do what you can do.

      That’s some good advice, right there. It suits a lot of situations.

  24. I’m glad to read that you are OK, and can relay your take on Harvey with pictures and words.
    Your part of the country is suffering from too much water, and we are suffering from too much heat & fires. Things will get better, just needs time.

    1. I’ve been chatting about that irony with a Montana friend who’s too close for comfort to the Sheep Gap fire. I watch the helicopters flying over to pluck people from flood waters and deliver supplies, while he watches helicopters drop water on the mountains. You’re right that things will get better, given time. It would be nice if it could happen in less time, rather than more.

      I am just fine. I thought about you and your hedge clippers today while I was pulling out wet sheetrock. Those are the sorts of jobs that aren’t glamorous at all, but they certainly do make a difference.

  25. Leave it to you to have the wherewithal in all of this to take a photographic diary. The responses of the ducks, birds, and deer are fascinating. You captured a wonderful variety there, with commentary to match. The bench became the perfect marker of the rise and fall of the flooding, didn’t it? It’s good to know the waters have receded where you are and you are again able to be out and about.

    1. I just realized that the bench did, in fact, serve as a benchmark. How I missed that I’m not sure, but it certainly served well. For simplicity’s sake, I didn’t chronicle all of the rising and falling. It actually was covered, uncovered, and then covered again as the bands of rain came through.

      The roads are clear now, except for a few freeway underpasses and a stretch or two of road on the west side. Even I-10 east toward Beaumont is mostly open. Rural roads are less accessible, particularly in the flood plains to the west. I suspect those roads won’t open for at least two more weeks, and it may take longer than that for the wildlife refuges to open.

      I was sorry to read about John Ashbery’s passing. I read a few tributes online, and discovered some poems I’d not encountered. These lines seem particularly apropos:

      It is never too late for stealth, / mourning itself, or the other irregular phantoms.

  26. I love your documentation of the water’s rise and fall. How did you even get all these photos, especially the up-close animals ones (telephoto?)? I was completely unable to get out for a few of the days, and I also have to admit my shots would not have been of such lovely things anyway! My street photos from an upstairs window show a murky greenish-brown river with bobbing water meter lids, and the ones I managed to get once out were of Soviet-esque supermarket lines and curbs filled with soggy belongings and homebuilding materials. Not quite as pretty as your harbor! Once again, I’m glad you managed well. It was quite a hurricane welcome for us here in Houston.

    1. All of the photos were taken with my telephoto lens. Some were taken from my balcony, and others from a sort-of-sheltered stairway where I could sit and keep the rain off my camera. I thought of you when I saw some before-and-after photos of the bayou this morning. You’re right. It wasn’t very pretty.

      Like you, I had several days of enforced confinement. When I finally got out and began assessing the situation, it was much as you describe. I did laugh when I entered a local grocery for the first time. It had been emptied of so much it reminded me of shopping in Liberia: shelves with a few cans of tomato paste here, some waxed Russian toilet paper there. But I kept power for the most part, and that made things entirely bearable.

      I was glad to see that Houston began debris pickup today, and ours will begin sometime this week. Apart from health concerns, there’s a great psychological benefit to getting those piles-of-what-was out of sight. It’s going to be a long slog, but believe me — we learned a lot from Allison and Ike, and it’s clearly benefiting us today.

  27. Sorry to be so late to comment. Intriguing photos and quite a detailed description of the storm’s ravages. The bird photos are very good but are sad. The dove looks exhausted and I was glad to read that it found a safe haven for rest in your potted plant on the balcony.

    You are fortunate to live in a somewhat sheltered area. My wish is that no re-building be allowed in most of Houston but in reality I know that will not happen. People refuse to move because that is home and that is all that they have ever known. Folks also refuse to learn from past experiences. Climate change, in my opinion and from what I’ve read, will continue to cause terrible storms and floods.

    There is no way that I would ever live on a coast that is prone to hurricanes. It is not even good for the rest of us that live on high ground. I worry about tornadoes. We are at the mercy of the elements.

    1. It’s interesting that you found the photos sad. During the storm, the birds’ coping mechanisms seemed to be working rather well. Of course there were losses, particularly of nests and of birds that weren’t able to replenish the oil in the feathers, but for the most part, they seem to have survived. After a day or so, the bluejays, cardinals, and other birds who come to feed at my place were back, and the herons that I photographed during the eclipse were back on their accustomed branches.

      I thought for a moment about your suggestion that no rebuilding be allowed in Houston. Fair enough, but where should those flood-affected people — perhaps 300,000, but probably many more — go? With a little more thought, it occurred to me that not allowing rebuilding after a hurricane or flood would have eliminated much of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, the Gulf Coast through Mississippi and Alabama, and the state of Florida. That’s not even considering the eastern seaboard and the Mississippi flood plain.

      My tongue’s in my cheek a bit, but the thought of forced relocation of large groups of people makes me nervous. That’s happened a time or two in history, and it’s not turned out well. Besides, I can’t help thinking of some friends who decided they just couldn’t take the stress of living on the coast any longer. The moved well inland, to an area south of Oklahoma City. About a year after their move, this happened. There were a lot of really bad jokes cracked during their rebuilding process.

        1. That’s exactly what people do — and by code, now. In many areas, people who wanted to rebuild after previous storms had to meet certain standards. I can’t remember just now how many feet of elevation is required (it varies by location) but they’ve made adjustments.

          Even our early coastal cities were smart enough to figure it out. After hurricanes devastated Indianola twice in a row, that thriving Texas port was abandoned with people voluntarily moving inland. But after the 1900 storm, Galveston took a different path, raising the entire city up by pumping slurry underneath, then adding a seawall.

          Believe me, there already are discussions ongoing about the rebuilding process here, especially for areas near the reservoirs.

  28. Your photo montage captured Harvey better than words although they were splendid as well. To use the bench as a watermark was perfect. Photojournalism at its best. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Cheri. There’s a time for precision in measurement, but when the world starts disappearing under the water, the number of inches or feet seems a little beside the point. Later, they become useful, for both the scientists and the artists.

      Do you know Randy Newman’s song, “Louisiana 1927”? It’s still the best flood song I know — gives me chills every time I listen to it, and the pairing with the photos in the video is perfect.

  29. I love your narration and so many wonderful photos of coastal birds. I am always delighted at how resilient they are! But you know me, I was all agog about the young buck photos. I have always read that deer are excellent swimmers… this made it believable for me.

    1. I thought about you shortly after getting the photos of the deer. I never imagined I’d have the chance to show you a deer in my “front yard,” but there it was. We see deer every now and then, running the utility easements or on the golf courses, but I doubt this one came from there. It’s hard to say. I was surprised to see it go back in the water, but I was glad to see it heading for a place where it could get back on land. There were a lot of animals rescued and relocated through this — and some went to rehabbers until they could be released.

      Scroll down a few photos to the September 1 entries at this Texas Game Wardens link — there’s a photo of several strapping young lads corraling a twelve-foot gator.

  30. I’m so glad you fared well. Like humans, the poor animals must manage as best they can during storms. The photos were a perfect addition. Great post.

    1. Actually, I fared so well it’s a little embarassing — but that’s the way it goes. I had my turn with Allison and Ike, and now I can help people who took a hit with this one. One of my best friends is going to have an especially hard time. She evacuated — wisely, since her house flooded bady — but on the way home, she fell and broke her hip. Once we get her back to Houston, it’s going to be a long, complicated process to heal her and get the house put back together.

  31. As a bird lover, I’m glad those birds in your post adjusted to the elements. I think people do too, after the initial shock and the terrible upheaval. Going on what Yvonne said, earlier, I remember a friend I had who, with her husband, contemplated moving to North Dakota to the only house they could afford – on a flood plain. I suppose really, we all of us go where we can. I’m glad you’re safe.

    1. We go where we can, and, in many cases, we stay where we want. So many people here have generations-long connections to the land, and just can’t imagine living anywhere else. Every now and then (usually when there’s a storm coming or going) the family I have left suggest I really ought to move somewhere else. Anywhere else, for that matter. But if I’ve learned anything in my seventy years, it’s that perfect security is an illusion. I could get blown away by a hurricane, but it’s even more likely I could get taken out by a drunken or texting driver on a Houston freeway. So there we are.

      The birds are recovering. This morning, I heard a cardinal singing, and the herons and egrets are back in the places where I usually see them. Storms like this are hard on them, and I’m sure many water bird babies drowned, but we were far enough past the nesting season that many will have survived.

      In the end, life has the last word. I’m glad I’m safe and able to continue on for a while, too.

  32. Good to know you did well – and kept the spirit – when Harvey came with its attack. I am amazed by how high the water rose – and then how you kept recording the life that still tried to keep up with the hurricane. I enjoyed your writing even though, of course, it was not the most enjoyable event you were writing about.

    1. While it wasn’t the sort of experience I’d want to repeat, it did have its moments. It certainly was interesting, and I’m glad you enjoyed my account of it.

      Of course, if I’d been threatened with the force of hurricane winds instead of just rain, it would have been an entirely different proposition. In fact, I would have been long gone, waiting out the storm somewhere else. I was happy not to have to do that again.

  33. Love your commentary on the storm through the eyes of the animals. While I’m sure they worry, they just seem to go about life’s daily struggles and go on. The amount of water you got was amazing. Now there’s Irma to contend with. Between these massive storms and fires, our poor country has had it bad this year. Glad to read you are OK.

    1. Have you had the terrible heat that was afflicting the Bay Area for a while? It has been a time of extremes, that’s for sure. I worry about a couple of people I know in Montana, as well as everyone we know in Florida likely to be impacted by Irma in one way or another. I think about Bug, and Huri, and all of those in North and South Carolina, too — and the Everglades. Sometimes, places can come back, as Galveston has time after time, but sometimes, as with our old port of Indianola, it just becomes too much.

      This was an easy storm for me, in the sense that it was only a flooding event. Many others along a three-hundred mile stretch of coastline weren’t so lucky. We’ll have to hope Florida gets a little luck, now.

  34. I’m SO thankful that you are okay. I prayed for you and for all of Texas. Now our prayers also include everyone in Irma’s path and the wildfires. We are seeing a lot of smokey hazy days and beautiful red sunsets due to the fires.
    Your photos are amazing. So happy the deer made it to safety, I always tend to worry about the animals. Wonderful post and again so thankful that you were “watered in”.

    1. It’s been a hard time for so many people. Where Harvey came ashore, little towns that I’ve worked in, vacationed in, and sailed to have extraordinary challenges because of the wind damage, and the flooding here still is causing problems. It only takes a few flooded interchanges or stretches of road to set up a domino effect and turn half-hour commutes into grim, one or two hour endurance trials.

      But that will end, too. Houston roads are mostly dry, and in another week or two, the rivers will have receded enough that some of the county roads will open as well. I did get some extra mosquito spray today, and sprayed some permethrin on a couple of sets of clothes. I’ve seen the photos of the masses of mosquitoes that are emerging, and it’s not a pretty sight! But we have masses of dragonflies, too — that helps to make up for the mosquitoes.

      1. Glad the water is receding and some parts are getting back to normal. I have never seen the aftermath of a hurricane. Can only imagine how devastating it is.
        You need a citronella plant for the mosquitoes! Are snakes also a problem?
        Take care – the weather has been unbelievably beautiful in Kansas!! Road trip?!?
        Your drop of sweat luckily didn’t damage your lens. These photos were beautiful!!

        1. I don’t think the citronella would have a chance. Over in Brazoria County, where the flooded rivers are, they’re using military planes for aerial spraying. That might beat them back a bit. And yes, there are plenty of snakes — and alligators — roaming around. They’ve been displaced, too, although I’m sure they’re just as eager as people to get back in their homes.

  35. I’m just now realizing I hadn’t commented when I first saw this post – we ran into some lousy weather here – hot and smoky, with ash covering our cars from wildfires 80miles away – and I laid low for a bit, just did less than usual. It’s clearing finally, but not for a lot of other people. Increasing wildfire activity, drought, Harvey and now Irma, with Jose and the others in the wings…. But you do rise to the occasion, and once again publish a post (and answer a slew of comments!) that is well thought out, well written, and well illustrated. May hat’s off to you. I hope you’re getting some breathing room. (And I love that Snowy egret marching along the pier – they are such beauties!) I love the tousled dove too, and the deer swimming – amazing images!

    1. Tousled is such a good word for the dove’s appearance, although I suspect it might have felt more bedraggled. I still feel an inordinate fondness for the quizzical mallard, although in every case it was fun to get a glimpse of these birdy personalities.

      Smoke can be such an irritant even at low levels. I hope things have cleared out for you. I know bloggers in two states that are directly threatened by the fires, but of course the smoke and ash can spread far and wide; the smoke has even made it down into the Texas Panhandle.

      I heard several stories this week of swimming deer. I know at least one was rescued and released to high ground. I wish I knew more about that — how you pull a swimming deer out of the water is beyond my comprehension. But, there were more amazing rescues and captures than that — including a half-dozen game wardens and DPS officer who subdued a twelve-foot alligator. Once this is over, the story-telling will go on for a lifetime.

  36. How different to read your own account of the disaster in your city ! Not that it diminishes the damage caused by Harvey but it is interesting and important also to see it through other witnesses’ eyes : those of animals. Very good writing, as always, Linda. And what pictures ! I like your positiveness even in such a turmoil. Take care.

    1. You’re right, Isa. It is important to keep in mind the human toll, and the level of devastation. But just as important is the damage to the natural world, and the wonderful examples of bravery and compassion that always emerge in such circumstances.

      I was glad to be safe and secure during this storm, and in a position to capture events from a different perspective. There are many posts about the efforts to rescue lost pets, but I’m not sure how many people had the luxury to sit around and photograph birds! I hope I never have such an opportunity again, but I’m glad that it worked out well this time.

  37. Great post, Linda, and wonderful shots. Glad you are ok–you’re right, I totally missed this post. I’ve been fretting over my son’s lost baggage as he heads far away and have been distracted. Lost baggage is no big deal in comparison to all that’s going on: fires in the PNW, hurricanes in the SE, earthquakes in Mexico. Your wildlife shots were beautiful. So many innocents in all this mess, but they are maybe the most innocent and vulnerable. Beautiful writing, enjoyed your positive take on things. All the best!

    1. Lost baggage in the process of travels to far-away is no small deal — no wonder you’ve been fretting and distracted. I hope by now it’s been recovered.

      Even in the midst of disasters, life goes on. While others deal with the frustrations and difficulties of rebuilding, I’m facing a new challenge at work: how to varnish in the midst of a world that looks a bit like Galveston beaches. The water came up so high in the Clear Creek channel that everything is covered now with fine sand — so fine it finds its way right into wet varnish. For the first time I can remember, I’d prefer love bugs.

      Speaking of birds, I saw two ospreys this past week, and yesterday I saw my first coot. They no doubt came down with the front, and they’re a first — and welcome — sign of fall.

  38. Well, guess what I finally got cranked up – the old lappie! And just in time for the 11:00 Irma update, too.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your Harvey tale with the accompanying photos.

    1. Hey, girl! I’m sitting here waiting for the update, too. It’s looking better for you — although I’ve already seen some nervousness coming out of places as far west as NOLA. We’ll see. At this point, I suspect they have the track pretty well nailed down. I’m glad you’ve got a way to contact us.. I’ll check in at the Ark, to save you posting time and energy. Fingers crossed for 11 p.m.

  39. I managed to get into Flickr just now, to post in. Also into Discus, as there are a few folks there I’d like to keep tabs on. I cannot get to The Ark. I had the URL written down (from work) but it won’t connect; it just throws me to a search results page for Rob’s old WU posts. I’ve tried every possible keyword combination I can think of, to no avail.

    1. I stopped by the Ark and saw that Shep’s not been able to get in, either. Rob thought he might have to close and reactivate his account. The same might work for you, but that’s for later. Here’s the direct link to the site. See if that works. If not, no matter, since you’ve got other options.

      Hang on!

    1. I’m so pleased you visited, Ernestine. I’m glad you’re inclined to return, and happy that you let me know you’d been here. My best wishes to your daughter, too. I hope she’s able to return to an undamaged home once this all is over. It is a sad and difficult situtation.

  40. I am going to gush over all of the pictures of the birds. Each one of them had their own distinctive facial expression. I am glad to see that we are not the only ones with seagulls!

    I am curious as to whether you have crows or ravens near you?

    I am glad to hear you see to be okay after Hurricane Harvey, I did wonder how you fared during Harvey and I prayed that you would stay safe – it seems you did :).

    I love your teal coloured benches! Just like the teal coloured rope. We only have brown or black ones where I am from. Bland and boring. I really must make my way to Texas one of these days!

    1. We do have both crows and ravens, Tamara. In fact, I think I heard a raven this afternoon. Here’s a short introduction to our species.

      Like you, I enjoyed the distinctiveness of each bird, and really can’t pick a favorite. I do enjoy that grumpy old Muscovy/mallard cross, though. He looks like me when I’m out of sorts for some reason.

      I’m grateful things worked out as well as they did during the storm. I’m well situated to deal with flooding. Winds are another matter, and if the strong winds that hit the middle coast had been predicted for here, I would have been gone. I’ve prepped for so many storms, and evacuated for two, so I know how to do it, even if it’s a hassle.

      You should come to Texas one day. I do recommend avoiding August and September, but otherwise it’s great.

  41. Finally got into The Ark, from a link Sandi posted at Flickr for me. For local conditions, see zip 29407 at the NWS.

    We have three crows around here that I call ‘The Three Amigos.’ I’ve seen them in my yard, all around the neighborhood across the road, along the hwy going to and coming home from work and in the parking lot at my office. If you see one, the other two are somewhere nearby. They’ve been around for a good two years now. My mockers absolutely HATE those crows and will gang up and dive bomb them until they leave.

    1. Ah, good. If I checked in more frequently at Flickr, I would have seen that. The Ark just seems more intuitive, and easier to use. When I checked your conditions and forecast just now, I thought, “Oh, good! She’ll be back to work on Tuesday.” So it seems, anyway.

      I watched some mockingbirds driving away a hawk a couple of days ago. They seem to be absolutely fearless. When they take on the squirrels, it can be quite a show, and always fun to see — although it’s not so much fun for the squirrels, I suppose.

      Isn’t Skye in Melbourne? Remember when she had her pony on the front porch during one of these storms? One of life’s enduring images.

  42. Yes, Skye is in Melbourne and I do remember that photo.

    Flickr was just the first site (other than here) I was able to get into. I knew someone there would take a peek and see I’d been by.

    1. I’m glad you found it so, Lisa. Honestly, I didn’t think of using the bench until it went underwater for the first time. Then it occurred to me that it would be a far better indicator of what was going on than the grass or the trees. I must say, it’s nice to have things dried out now. There still are people waiting for the water to leave their homes, although the numbers are decreasing. It helps that we’ve had dry weather since the storm, and that the roads are almost all passable.

  43. Wow, I’ve kept my eye out for your posts but missed many. Perhaps the notifications are still going awol….

    This is a lovey post, and you’ve captured the personalities of so many of those creatures! The little dove captured my own heart, and the ‘look’ on that muscovy is priceless!

    We all watch with awe as the waters rise, and then we slowly exhale when the waters recede. Thank you for capturing and sharing what it was like from your own gps location.

    1. Every time I look at that Muscovy, I laugh. On the other hand, I laugh at the quizzical mallard, too. Let’s face it — ducks are naturally funny, especially when we take the time to watch them for a while.

      One of the best animal stories from the flood happened just a couple of days ago, when an 89-pound snapping turtle slowed traffic by cruising down a main thoroughfare. He was rescued, examined, and measured, and now he’s back in the bayou, living his turtle-y life.

      Your comment about exhaling as the waters receded reminds me of one of the best hurricane songs ever. As for ‘canes, today’s also the anniversary of Hurricane Humberto, which scooted right up the eastern side of the Houston ship channel. I remember that one for the lemon-and steel sky that preceded it, and for the opportunity to watch the storm swirl over Galveston from the top of local bridge. Destructive as they are, they’re always fascinating.

      1. Thanks for the Buffet song, which took several attempts to enjoy thanks to not-so-ideal internet ops. Now that I”m in Mindo it will load and play with zero distractions, so later I’ll enjoy it again!

        That snapping turtle story is special too. I remember the ole stories said if a snapper bit your hand/fingers it would not release them til there was thunder in the skies… That was always warning enough for me to keep my hands far away from those ill-tempered turtles!

    1. The cast of characters certainly would make for an entertaining film, Juliet. There were some sharply-defined personalities on display during the storm, and they were fun to see.

      Not all of the animals survived, I’m sure, but even after Hurricane Irma had done her worst in the Florida Keys, there were Key deer running about. The question now will be whether their environment can sustain them. All of our wildlife management people and great numbers of volunteers are working to ensure that the creatures here get as much support as we can muster.

    1. It’s been an extraordinarily hard year. But recovery is taking place, step by step. I happened to be in one of the hardest hit areas around here today, and the debris removal seems to be almost complete. Just getting that done will make things easier for everyone — not only will it eliminate a health hazard, it will be a lift for some spirits. It’s going to be a long haul, but at least in Texas and Florida, people know how to go about a recovery process. I worry more about Puerto Rico and the other islands — not only was the devastation as great or greater, the complications of being an island make a lot of things much harder.

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