My hometown was flooded in June, and it's preoccupied a lot of my thoughts for the last few weeks. It's a little town halfway between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids in Iowa. I grew up there and my 89-year-old mother still lives there. Luckily she's on the south side of town and the flooding was on the north side. She was without power for several days, and several family friends had homes damaged, but overall, she and they emerged unscathed.
It really made me realize how much we take for granted -- basic necessities like lights, water, heat, air conditioning, safe food, clean water. So many people in the world don't have access to those things on a daily basis, so how can I worry about people who only endure it for a week or two at a time.
I think it was particularly hard to see my memories go underwater -- buildings at the University of Iowa, places in Cedar Rapids -- I went to school at Iowa, I went to CR almost every weekend. I suppose this is all a part of growing up and letting go, saying goodbye to the past, but it's hard to see Mother Nature take over like that. For the most part, this was totally unprecedented -- these buildings, etc., weren't that close to the river, they sat high above the river. Who could have predicted inches and inches of rain all falling in a narrow band like that?
Anyway, it's adding a lot of ... background, I guess you could say, to my next Work In Progress. It's my Oz book: yep, somebody dies in a tornado, and it ain't the Wicked Witch of the East. I figure I can find a lot of research material by just going home for a visit ...