Monday, April 22, 2013

God Willin' and the Crick Don't Rise

You guys, I love St Louis so much. Yesterday was so awesome I have to tell you today instead of posting on tomorrow like I normally do. If you haven't heard, there's a lot of flooding going on in the middle Mississippi area right now. I want everyone to be safe and I don't want anyone's property harmed, but I have to tell you about this fascination we have with flooding in the Midwest.

We can see the Mississippi from our front yard, but we are about four blocks uphill, not even counting all the industrial buildings on the other side of South Broadway. We are far enough away, as are most St Louisans, that this kind of flooding is like watching a natural disaster happen in slow motion. There's time to sandbag, and time to escape the water. So naturally, on a lovely weekend like this, there are a lot of midwesterners standing around on hills, watching the river and saying, "mmmyep."

We did quite a lot of flood spectating this weekend. Our favorite local parks, Sister Mary Charles and Bellerieve Park, are two of the best spots to watch the river in South City. I wish the Arch was visible in that photo above. It's visible to the naked eye from this spot and the view totally reminded me of that new SyFy show, Defiance.

A warning, of sorts, about the parks. You have to have a pretty high weirdo tolerance to hang in Carondelet/Patch.These are notorious "cruising" parks. I want to go around knocking on car windows and saying, "Dude, there's this thing called the internet now, and there's an app for this." But instead I start taking pictures of the river and usually cause a line of cars to decide they are done "watching the river".

Barge traffic is halted right now because the river is dangerously high. Just a couple months ago we were at these parks checking out the record LOW level of water, and the "shipwrecks"  that were revealed. It seemed impossible that 2013 would be a 20 year flood. An interesting note about the picture above: When we were at the lower park (Sister Mary Charles), we noted a bunch of charred brush and branches on the shore next to that barge. I took this photo from the upper park (Bellerive) so I could ZOOM IN AND ENHANCE when I got home, and was a little disturbed to find that the signs read, "DANGER -  BENZENE - REGULATED AREA - CANCER CAUSING AGENT - FLAMMABLE - NO SMOKING - AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY - RESPIRATOR REQUIRED." Hmmm.

So that was Saturday. Yesterday, we had lunch with my family at Lemp Mansion, which you can read about over at Eat St Louis. Then we made a trip to Pink Elephant Antique Mall, which Francis will eventually be posting about at his new antique mall blog, Penguin Ice Bucket.

As we crossed the bridge coming back to St Louis, I suggested we stop by the Arch to check out the downtown river levels. This is why I married Francis. I say, "Shall we?" and he says, "Let's!" As he said earlier today, he says yes because it's either going to be nothing, or awesome, and how can you say no to that?

Yesterday's "yes" netted us one of those experiences that just cannot be duplicated: a water hobo. I'm sure that is completely inaccurate, and maybe not even polite, but it makes us giggle and we won't give it up. As you can see, people were so fascinated, they just sat down on the steps to watch. We were observing this with amazement from a distance, so I don't know what he was talking about, except that he brought his pet duck out to feed it there on that concrete barrier. This picture is everything I love about St Louis. There's always adventure available when you say YES to a detour, even when it's something as benign as stopping to look at flood waters.

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