Friday, June 17, 2005

Near Death-Part III

I was stranded in a tree, in the dark of the night, with flood waters raging beneath me.

I could hear the screams of my neighbors' children, children who had been swept away by those same waters, clinging to a picket fence. Screams were good. This meant that they hadn't lost their grips yet. As I stood perched in the tree, I was also concerned for my wife, who had seen me disappear into the flood waters, but who--because it was pitch black out and because flood waters are louder than you might think--was not aware that I had managed to grab onto a branch of tree, just before losing control of my body and being lost to flood oblivion. At least she was on dry ground.

I would learn the next day, when the 100-year flood was the great news of the day, that those not lucky enough to grab onto a tree branch were literally skinned alive by the flood waters, their bodies treated like the the grisly subjects of some profane science experiment.

Another bullet narrowly dodged, thank God. And by the mere bark of the branch of a tree. At least that was my genuine prayer, as the angry waters receded, the children's screams became merely tired shouts, and the firemen came and rescued us.