We in Columbia aren’t experiencing the massive flooding that’s hit around the state at a devastating rate that in some places is surpassing the floods of 93, which I’m old enough to remember very clearly.
I haven’t been out to see where the Missouri River is at. I almost can’t bring myself to even think about it. I have a specific cultic practice towards the Matronae attached to the Missouri that eventually I will get around to writing the booklet for, and this winter’s flood of the major rivers to me shows the massive arrogance of man thinking they can control the will of living Place.
My great-grandfather was one of the Army Corp of Engineer members that worked to control the Missouri River, which turned the Missouri River from a feared natural waterway into something completely different than what Lewis and Clark experienced… And in turn it has been a natural disaster. He is remembered dearly as a conservationist, an early one at that, so I wonder sometimes if he knew that this would happen.
While there are obviously less boats sinking on both the Missouri and Mississippi these days, we see over and over again that the levies we keep building to protect development we build on flood plains continue to make flooding worse. The water has to go somewhere, and the fact that we’ve yet to realize that we need to respect the natural course of the rivers and the space they need to relieve themselves of too much water is, to me, a travesty all on its own.
Our community needs to settle into our understanding of our rivers and the Powers behind them. We need to have our hands in the silt and clay, rebuilding what our not-so-distant Ancestors decided were ours to tamper with. We need to find ourselves helping to bring these living landforms, ever evolving and changing, back into balance.
When I look at the Missouri River, or even the Mississippi, I see a caged creature that has been cut up and mutilated in some sort of twisted reconstructive surgery in our hands so that it conforms to what we want of it. I see mankind’s willingness to force its will onto everything around it. Rivers aren’t domesticated livestock. Rivers are living entities who don’t really give a crap if they destroy our homes and businesses when we build in their spaces that they historically flow into when necessary. The more we tamper with them, the more damage we do to the world around us, even if it helps our own existence. But that’s not something a big river is going to put up with when it’s bloated and uncomfortable from the rain.
They are bigger than us. We can try to control them all that we want, but time and time again we continue to see that it doesn’t work. The water has to go somewhere.