A drop of water falls from the sky.
It lands on a branch, trickles down a leaf and onto the ground where it soaks in to nourish the tree’s roots. It is joined by its brothers and sisters and together they create a gentle rain that brings fruit to bear, washes away pollen and fills creeks and rivers and streams.
But it doesn’t stop. The gentle rain turns into a violent downpour which turns the creeks and rivers and streams into torrents of gushing water. Five inches. Eleven inches. Sixteen inches…the most rain ever for the month of May, and it’s only the second day of the month.
Soon the images start to appear. A flooded street here. A barely visible sign there. And then the neighborhoods. Picture after picture of rooftops surrounded by brackish brown water. Poor homes in downtrodden parts of town. New homes in stylish developments. The water doesn’t really care how nice your house is–if it wants to, it’s coming in and there’s nothing you can do about it but get out as fast as you can.
I know a woman who had to abandon her car and swim across a parking lot to safety.
I know a man who was evacuated as the waters crept closer to his house.
I know another who canoed down roads his car had traversed just days before.
And you know what? They’re the lucky ones.
Now that the rivers have crested and, for the most part, the rescues are complete, we start seeing the other trickle down effect–the financial one.
Gas and water are in short supply.
Opryland Hotel, which has more than 2,800 rooms and hosts a multitude of national conventions is closed indefinitely. The money those convention goers put into the Nashville economy has to be hundreds of millions in a year. Many of the bars and restaurants that depend on those tourist dollars are flooded themselves–a double dose of bad luck.
That’s the obvious story–the one that’s on the news. But there are hundreds of smaller ones. My cleaning lady called today. Three of her regular houses were flooded. That’s three less jobs for someone who depends on every penny.
That’s the real trickle down effect.