Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Year Downstream
(or, I'm Going Back to the Well Once More)

A year ago today, we had a massive nor'easter that dropped one million inches of rain and flooded our cellar, in a way that I wasn't prepared for mentally, although I recognized the possibility. Given the number of hits I get for "sump pump running continuously" and "water in cellar" and "ohgodohgod the f**king water just won't stop rising," etc., it's obvious I'm not alone. In fact, I can tell where it's raining by where the hits originate; let me tell you, it rains a lot in the upper midwest and England. From Google's standpoint, this is a blog about sump pumps and wet basements. (And Jennifer Lopez, Ashlee Simpson, and the Marilyn Monroe sex tape. Welcome new readers!)

So I'm writing at my upstairs desk while yet another water guy sits in his van on his cellphone, calling in my problem to the office. [time passes] Okay, now it's twelve hours later and their solution was no solution at all. I'm seeking the contractor(s) who share the vision of the perfect cellar that's taking shape in my mind. It is most distantly protected by a slight drainage improvement on the town land next door, then by a curtain drain circling the house on the uphill side, then an additional pump and backup batteries added to the existing system downstairs, all of which will relegate this water thing to mere nuisance. So we can concentrate on the insufficiency of windows and that mossy roof section over the front porch.

Believe it or not, that's not what I'm here to talk about. No, the thing I've got brewing is more like a realization about how unique every life is, even mine with its common sump pump issues, even those of people who live in cultures that have changed little in hundreds of years, and even those that are unique in ways that are instantly evident. Whatever it is, it is just the book of your life, and every one is different. Fingerprints, you know? They're not extraordinary, really, except that no one is completely the same as any other. And the likelihood of any one of us ever being who and what we are is just as astounding.

I promise I'm not smoking pot. I guess I'm sitting here typing alongside Philip Carey. "He thought of his desire to make a design, intricate and beautiful, out of the myriad, meaningless facts of life: had he not seen also that the simplest pattern, that in which a man was born, worked, married, had children, and died, was likewise the most perfect?" (Simple? Got news for you, Phil.)

In any case, take your pick of any variation on that particular plan. They're all astounding. As Mike Levine said, "the wonder is not that we die, but that we ever were."

So. Let it rain. Be.


wcs said...

Technically, you're not going back to the well. It's coming back to you.

wcs said...

So Bill, are you changing your profile photo to suit your mood, or are you testing to see if we're paying attention?

Bill Braine said...


Claudia in Toronto said...

I do beards. Free...