The Outsider: Flooding festivities

As the rain kept coming down and the snow kept melting, I began to worry because the river Burnt kept rising. I glanced nervously from the kitchen window every few minutes, noting little landmarks – a rock, mole hill or stick – and the encroaching water’s distance from them. And then I could take it no longer. Off to the village, to the municipal yard, to bag up sand and prepare for the worst. 

I do this every spring and then every summer I am left with a large pile of bags full of sand untouched by flood waters. But the river rises so fast and its malignant power pushing through my tag alder bush is always enough to make me afraid for the worst. 

However, what with me being me, as I worry, I try to put a positive spin on things. “Oh well, nice weather for ducks, easy commute for the beavers … the sidewalks in Minden needed a good wash, I guess … when the river goes down there’ll be plenty of pools for the mosquitoes to breed in …” 

But then it struck me. We really do need to put a positive spin on our annual freshet. Floods are important. Noah gets a big role in the Bible, doesn’t he? Possibly the most exciting story, other than the big J himself and some miracles, Noah’s got the action cornered. While in Egypt, folks with waterfront property on the Nile celebrate its yearly flood with a two-week holiday. Yep, two weeks of celebration. They call it Wafaa El-Nil, or the Martyr’s Finger, depending upon their faith, and as miles of floodplain is sluiced with river water, the Egyptians party. 

So, how about it folks? It’s the perfect time of year for a party. Winter has come to an end, signaled by the rising of the waters and warming of temperatures, so what better reason to celebrate. What we need now is a name and some form of event. 

The Burnt River Bulge. The Giant Gull Gurgle. Annual Drag Deluge … just throwing ideas out there. And, while the Egyptians bathe in their flood, what say we open up the houses closest to the flood waters and hold ‘hook a duck’ parties to rescue folks’ belongings as they float by. Paddle board races along Water Street. Pooh sticks across Maple Avenue. Woodland waterfall hunts and boat rides to see the neighbours. If we do this properly, we could even market it to the city folks. They’d flock to High Water Haliburton or Minden-on-Sea. All we need is an Instagram page and a smile. 

And there you have it, positive thinking has allayed my worrisome nature, again. I’m smiling as I’m watching the stick that was on dry land half an hour ago float off across my back yard. I’m chuckling at the insane idea of marketing a flood and I’m marveling at the Egyptians who worship their river and rebuild their mud hut homes each year after it has destroyed them. 

Hang tight Minden and everyone else affected by the onslaught of spring. Soon enough warm weather will arrive and with it? Well, dryer streets and yards … and a plague of bugs. Just don’t tell the city folks. Or maybe we should market bug season. A Facebook page, Twitter account and a catchy name like, The Minden Buzz, Wings over Haliburton …

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