Friday, July 19, 2013

Raining Again

The family camping trip turned into a rain soaked weekend. The rain seems to have been non-stop for nearly a month or more. The Kerr Scott Reservoir shut down all water activities such as swimming and boating because the water was nearly 22 feet over the banks. This didn’t bode well considering this was the location of the camping trip along with the potential of three different species of black bass fishing.

But rain and river and lake flooding is just a nuisance to most of us. The closest the majority comes to actually having it effect a way of life is by knowing a farmer that is having trouble getting into the fields. Just a few generations ago weather such as we have had over the last couple of months completely affected everything about one’s life.

Today, I can make changes in the itinerary by taking the family to see the Linville Caverns, Linville Falls, and Linville Gorge. During breaks in the clouds we can try throwing a cricket or artificial lure into the water. If we do not catch anything it does not really matter. We can go underneath a shelter that has a picnic table and grille, start a fire with a butane lighter and some fire starter while remaining dry, and ‘rough it’ by cooking a few hot dogs.
The tailwaters from the Kerr Scott Dam.

It was not long ago when this weather could have made it all but impossible to catch a fish due to the high water. Hunting would have been difficult due to the animals being bedded down. Dry wood and leaves would have been non -existent killing any good chance to start a fire for both warmth and heating or cooking raw meat of any fish or animal that may been caught. Any crops planted would have taken their toll on the land owner or tribe since the land would have been tended by man power rather than machinery. There would have been no government assistance in the form of money and no grocery store to stock up on any food sources destroyed.

Today, we become angry or disappointed when the weather keeps us from our activities. We are agitated because we cannot play a round of golf, fish, hunt, or even mow the grass because of rain. We sulk because one or days off of work is taken away due to bad weather.

Back then, just a few days of bad weather meant the family would go hungry. A few weeks of bad weather meant the family could go hungry for an entire season. There was no day off of work.

Today we look at weather forecasts and plan our activities around the predictions from as far as two weeks away. If severe tropical systems are present we watch them develop from little more than a large thunderstorm all the way to a full-fledged hurricane. We stock up supplies days in advance and protect our homes and boats and property.

Back then there were no weather satellites, weather balloons or storm chasing aircraft. Hurricanes that hit the East coast gave little warning. They did not carry names. Instead they carried the name of the year it came in. For instance, if you check old tombstones, you may see a family plot with something along the lines of ‘The Smiths, Father, Wife, Son, and Daughter taken by the Great Storm of 1893.’

So while we enjoy our outdoors activities, we still can learn and appreciate them a little more when obstacles appear in the way. Think about how our ancestors and those before us may have handled the same obstacles.


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