I love South Carolina. It is the birthplace of my Mom. It is the state I spent every summer (and every other fall) in since I was six years old. It is were I teach my kids to be Gentleman Farmers, plant rotating crops and gardens, tend to multiple species of fruit trees and speculate on the best place to set up the TRX equipment to engage in Bloody Bucket Boxing Bootcamp. Unfortunately, I never got to set up my personal exercise camp this visit because the stream behind my property overflowed during the Flash Flooding, resulting in a logistical mess.
FYI: There really is a Bloody Bucket Road in Williamsburg County. It is where my family and I own several acres of vacation/recreational land. If we are playing on the property down Tip Top Drive, then it becomes Tip Top Boxing. If we are playing on the property at Society Lane then it becomes Society Lane Yoga (or Society Lane Fencing for the delicate southern sensibilities of my peeps who think Society Lane Boxing just sounds silly - sigh).
Being the resident, part-time farmer and Certified Personal Trainer of the family means I have lots of leeway to express my creativity regarding my annual pilgrimage to the family bootcamp. My creativity usually involves lots of cooking and eating, thus, the mandatory work outs (silly grin). Can't have bootcamp if I don't clean this mess up... Today's exercise drill? Hiking a security damage survey... Figured you might want to get a tiny peek at my mess... will avoid posting dead things. Yes, this is a now a grave-site of our wildlife...
I have trees down, pathways blocked, markers moved, limbs threatening utility power lines, cracked/missing shed windows, lost siding... The list grows with every hike through the woody hood. It is a property owner's security walk nightmare made more difficult because the saturated ground is soft and boggy... Did I mention my creepy meter keeps going off from the unnatural silence?
I'm talking Stephen King woo-woo: freaky-deaky-creepy people... I normally love these woods... Today? Not so much... If a pecan falls, tumbling through the mute tree leaves, I start flippin' the "Who Dat?" script after doin' a 360 degree wring-your-neck twist-your-body in-a-whirl flinch. The quiet is soooooo profound. ANY sudden noise triggers my fight or flight reflex... I keep scaring myself. It's embarrassing... Can't help it. The carnage is incredible. I now understand the true horror of Noah's Ark: Death by water... Flash Flood.
As I tip toe through our family woods, trying to keep quiet and pay attention, I encounter little pockets of bark chips scattered everywhere from the flood debris crashing into, then stripping the wood/bark off of the trees. It is strange, staring at tall pines stripped bare at heights that are mind boggling. Makes me seriously wonder what exactly happened here? When did it happen? Why did 11 dams fail?
As of this writing, some of my trees are gently tipping over, doing a microscopically slow, incremental lean as the earth bulges with the shifting of their roots. The water table is so high it's like watching a creepy, extremely slow motion mud slide... A gentle earthquake of subtle movement. Periodically, the dirt gives a soft, lazy, bulging burp from our underground stream and my landscape suddenly changes... tip goes a tree... I've lost a lot of hard and soft wood. It is going to take years to recover... My gorgeous, once generous inventory has been decimated and I have no idea which way to turn or how to even react. I'm stumped. This is a new experience and we have to make decisions on the rebuild. I hate the fact that we have to rebuild the forest. Planting and maintenance was expensive the first time (sigh).
Do I sound a wee bit cranky? Um... Dude. Maybe just a little. After all, my dirt is farting and my trees are walking... taking other trees down without warning, snapping them like piddly twigs when their roots can no longer hold purchase in the soupy-bog-underground. Their leafy neighbors can't do the lean-on-me routine anymore - it's every trunk for itself, with those that fail taking the healthy out with them when they fall. FYI: Taking inventory is like playing Russian Roulette in the Mud. We are all in cautious, recovery mode, a tight knit group of farmers pulling together with a little help from our friends. We have to do the work because we own the land. Some of us are cleaning up our yards with American Red Cross cleaning supplies. Thank you, CERT. Thank you, ARC. My Dad is dragging his tractor all over the place cutting our fields and teaching me his rig secrets (which has been mad fun - silly grin).
In the aftermath of the flooding, you can see the mottled, off-color of my ground which keeps us from off-roading vehicles (too soft, will get bogged down in the muck). I still can smell the bacteria from the dead that have drowned, deer swept away with other woodland residents... Even our ancestral dead have fallen victim to the flood. Near me, two brave members of the clergy swam into the river to retrieve coffins that escaped the graveyard. When the ground is displaced, airtight caskets equals floating death boat, people. That horrible river discovery is a sight a number of full and part time residents will never forget.
The birds are gone. The roads are deserted. It is eerie, silent and still while fetching food and supplies. My heart is as cracked as the highways we travel on.
We have a curfew because you can't see the roads cracking and crumbling at night until you run right up on it happening. People are trying not to be out and about unless they really have to go somewhere, which helps the county do its work. There are road closures where and when you least expect it. Keep a full tank of gas people. Don't go less than half regarding that. United Way of the Midlands can help you with that twitchy travel situation. They do road closure updates, so feel free to donate there to help the flood survivoirs out.