A neighbor who keeps track of these things tells me that the river has crested. It seems to be true.
Last week, approaching a section of the riverwalk around a curve, I had a sense that something was wrong. The river wasn’t where it should be in that direction. Today, it had receded considerably. Soon I’ll be able to walk across there again.
“Risk of flooding in Dubois,” I’d hear on Wyoming Public Radio a week or two ago, and friends down-county would ask with concern: So how is it in Dubois?
During Hurricane Sandy, I watched on Twitter videos as the East River filled subway stations in New York. During hurricane season last year, I worried as my daughter fled her apartment a few blocks from the beach in Fort Lauderdale.
We listen with horror about people in Hawaii who are airlifted away from the lava flows.
This is not that. This is the snow melt coming down, urged on after spring thunderstorms, as it does every year about now.
The river turns to chocolate milk and roars merrily along, breeching its banks at every turn. Sometimes a piece of the bank calves off, and someone’s backyard becomes a transient lake as it slows the surging water.
Anglers know it’s not time yet to tie flies and pull out the rods. The river is much too wild just now. The air may be warm, but this is still spring.
“Seems to be a lot of building on that flood plain,” said a visitor in passing. “Not a good idea.”
Actually, it’s a perfectly good one. We know how the river rises and falls, and we know where it tends to run aground.
This is not the Hamptons or Cape Cod. These folks aren’t tempting fate; they (or their realtor and contractor) have been around here long enough to know the ups and downs of the Wind River.
But there are small surprises. In one of my go-to short hike spots today, a small pond had materialized in the duff beneath the pines. The dog had a wade. Little rivulets were wandering across the meadow trying to create new islands, and my boots got wet.
Those fragile wild irises were flamboyantly abundant, as they are this time of year. They too will subside and sink into the silt after a few days, alas.
© Lois Wingerson, 2018
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