Dream of: 19 May 2002 (2) "The Crest"

I was standing on the banks of the Ohio River at Portsmouth. The river was high – with a swift current. I was thinking about a conversation I had had with my father the day before wherein we had been talking about the crest of a river. He had told me that when a river crests, the water's level along the center of the river would be higher than the level of water along the banks. At that time, the debris floating on the river would tend to accumulate along the banks of the river and not in the center. Conversely, – he had said – after the river crests and is beginning to recede, the water in the center will be lower, and the water along the edges will be higher; at that time the debris will tend to accumulate in the center instead of along the shore.

It looked to me as if the river probably had already crested, because most of the debris seemed to be floating in the center. Also in the center were several small boats – row boats and plastic boats – with people in them. As I watched the boats, I had an overwhelming urge to be out there with them. I picked up a flat piece of board – about six feet by four feet – which might have been an old piece of fence; I held the board in front of me, and then simply let it fall into the water with me still hanging on. Immediately the current began pulling me toward the center of the river. What was I doing? Being out here in a flooded river was highly dangerous.

I quickly approached the center. Now I could see a row of small boats – perhaps 20 – tied together in a string. It looked as people were in most of the boats. Apparently boats had broken loose from their moorings and these people were now salvaging them.

Up ahead a small boat was loose with no one in it. If I could simply reach that boat and climb aboard I would be much safer. When I was about ten yards from the boat I jumped off my little wooden raft and began swimming and floating toward the boat. But the current was so strong; it looked as if I might be swept past the boat. Why had I abandoned my raft so precipitously? If I were stuck out here without a raft, I would truly be in a desperate situation. It looked as if the current were too strong – I was going to miss the boat!

And something else didn't seem right here. Suddenly I realized the river wasn't flowing in the right direction. The river should be flowing west toward Cincinnati and the Mississippi River. But the river was flowing east. How could that be possible?

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