Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Debby FINALLY went away but…

Friday June 29, 2012
Lithia Springs Park Site 25
Lithia, Florida

 

These pictures are some of the things I love.South Creek Kayak & Casey Key Beach 006 

The river is running down stream at a clip I haven’t seen in 84 days of camping here.

 

The Alafia River crested sometime Thursday at just under 16’. She’s starting to recede and the waters are slowly moving back from the land. Yesterday on my run I could see that many areas were back to their Monday levels. With the sun shining today and for the foreseeable future, things should dry up within a week. No evacuation will be necessary thankfully.

Since these will be our last 3 days here in a place we’ve spent a lot of time, I hope we’ll get to see the river at a nice normal level before we have to leave on Sunday.   I’m trying to vision kayaking on Saturday though I don’t know if the level will be low enough by then.  That’s something I think David could do for a couple of hours without tiring him out too much and he would really like that.  But only if the river is not too strong.   The park remains closed today.

   

Saturday 010

 

As you can imagine, I’ve really been focused on the weather.

All this tropical storm rain and flooding and possible tornados has put the weather up front and center on my mind.  Other than medical issues it’s been my main concern.  I’m going to take a chance here and talk about some of what I’ve been thinking. 

Things seem really extreme this summer all over the place. The hurricane season in Florida started over a month early. Debby was the earliest date for a 4th Tropical Storm since records have been kept. The temperatures in New England are record highs. No going to Maine to be cool this year. It hit 106 in South Dakota and it’s only June. Colorado is burning up at this moment.

But the weather has been extreme for the last few years actually. Last year, we were in horrible floods in the spring along the Mississippi. There was the terrible drought in Texas and the Palo Duro Canyon fires that we just missed. Things just haven’t been “normal” for a long time.  And not just a little bit off here and there but a lot off everywhere.

In my lifetime, I don’t remember any previous period with such extremes in every section of the country multiple years in a row.

 

Thursday @ Nokomis 018A

 

Is the problem in the air?

I just can't help but wonder if this climate chaos isn't due to all the stuff going into our air changing the wind patterns and so many other resulting things. How can it not?

Today on a blog I follow there was a picture of a wind farm. It made me smile, There is a crop farmers can grow in the air while they use their ground for other things. A great idea. But as I listen to the political rhetoric starting up already with the election nearly half a year away, I don’t hear anyone talking about the environment. Or the Climate Chaos affecting thousands of people’s lives and livelihoods. I hear concern about the economy, about jobs, and I understand that.

But I don’t understand how we can really believe there will be an economy or any jobs if we don’t take the health of our planet more seriously.  I don’t understand why this isn’t an issue that everyone cares about.  Why it isn’t at the top of the list of things politicians are talking to us about?

 

Nokomis Beach Tuesday 032

 

I’m thinking about that space race we won.

Can’t we as a nation decide to have an all out effort at getting all our power needs off of oil and coal?  They are dangerous to us in so many ways.   Something similar to our resolve to put a man on the moon within a decade as we did in the 60’s. We did it then. We had the will. I know we could do it now. We are as good as or better at research and development than any people on Earth. We found the money for such a huge project then and we could find it now.

It would be good for the economy and provide jobs. PLUS it would be good for us in many other ways as well.

Without the need for oil why would we need to be in the middle east with all of our military expenditures and loss of life there? Perhaps I am just na├»ve but I don’t really want to send our troops to defend corporate American greed. Let them hire their own troops while we keep ours for real national defense.

We are currently spending a lot of money on these “natural disasters” and I for one think this is just the beginning. How long will it take before the disruption in the weather patterns starts a disruption in our food supply? How great is the increase in respiratory ailments in the past decade? What about the loss of life and property to fires, tornados, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis???

Why are we still talking about pipelines and drilling? We know the damage they do. It isn’t avoidable. They are short terms fixes to a problem that needs a long term solution NOW. Well actually a long time before NOW.

 

Saturday 035

 

UVA and my hometown are a real inspiration.

If we ruin our environment, I don’t think economics will be the big issue. The issues then will be enough food, clean water and clean air to keep ourselves alive and healthy. Or will those some day too be available only to the wealthy?

 

Can we overcome our petroleum addiction before the earth's climate becomes too unstable to grow food for its residents? Can we care about these really important things enough to force the people in power to care about them too?   I am inspired by what the students, staff and faculty did at the University of Virginia this past week with their will alone. They changed a corporate decision. Something that would have been previously unthinkable in such a bastion of tradition. The powers that be thought it would blow over but it didn’t.  Those who wanted change kept their eye on the prize.   Kept their letters and phone calls coming.

I think we can make the environment a serious issue if we have the will and the attention span. If we insist that this issue of oil and coal replacement is important and we don’t let it go away, those who want to be elected will have to pay attention. Regardless of how much money they spend on their campaigning, you still have a vote that no one can take away from you.  But you have to decide what really is most important for you and your children and grandchildren.  And then you have to be heard about whatever it is and the greater the numbers who care the more the attention.

 

Sanibel Island 043

 

Can’t you just see it -  an Electric RV?

The only thing I  dislike about RVing is the use of gasoline.  Even though we drive little comparatively, and less than we did during our working lives, it still bothers me. 

There are minds far greater than mine who, I am positive, can figure out how to turn our cars (and RVs) to electric and our generation of that electricity from the sun and the wind.  I laugh about the big ball of energy in the sky every day which we have not had the national will to put at the top of our list for R & D.  That’s a space program worth having. 

How do we use it and get the costs down so we can all use it.  My electric RV could do 300 miles per day but they’d have to have one that could do at least 600 for Paul and Marti!  What did happen to that electric car?  If you haven’t heard, check this out. 

 

  When anyone asks me what the most important issue facing our country is, I say replacing oil and coal with alternative fuels which do not have dangerous wastes needing constant watching for eons by our descendents.  We need this for our national security and the common good.  I feel like I am one of the only ones continuing to be concerned about this.  It never even shows up as an issue on those “polls” forever being quoted about what the most important issues are.  I wonder why they never interview me for those.

 

Back to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.  These continuing disasters just make me worried that to our serious peril we can’t see the forest for the trees.  I worry for her, for them, for us.

 

South Creek Kayak & Casey Key Beach 150A

Debby Day 3

Wednesday June 27, 2012
Lithia Springs Park Site 25
Lithia, Florida

 

Debby on Tuesday 069Lost of rain brings beautiful mushrooms.  I swear I didn’t put that leaf there.

 

Now I’m wondering if she’s playing with us. 

Yesterday was a day of light rain and then sun and then heavy rain and then sun. Over and over and over. The river is still rising and we are told there is talk of evacuating the 3 campers remaining in the campground.  The park is closed.  So these may be the last Lithia Springs Park flood pictures we’ll take.  Therefore I’m going back into the achieves and get some to compare with yesterday and today.

 

Debby on Tuesday 076

 

Tuesday I go out running first thing. 

Hot and muggy as always.  No rain but humiddidity by the ton.  I don’t run as far in the same amount of time when it is this difficult.  The water levels are up so high over night that I cannot run the loop by either the public or natural spring.  The waters are over the roadway.   The water covers the parking lot.  I could kayak through it.

 

Debby on Tuesday 074A

 

 

This is day 3 of the flood.

After breakfast we take a walk for David to see what the Alafia has done over night.  We’ve had no tornado warnings or watches since the one last night at 7:30 so that is really nice.  If tropical storm watches and flood warnings could be said to be “nice”.

 

Here’s what we find in our favorite site 40.  The one we didn’t move into a week ago today. 

 

Pictures 1  & 2 are Tuesday  Picture 3 is today.  There has been no rain today but the river is still clearly rising.  Notice the difference in the dry ground around the tree with resurrection fern in the center of the site.

 

Debby on Tuesday 001

 

Debby on Tuesday 002

 

Debby on Wednesday 001

 

This is the view looking at the same drive way on May 31st. Notice the electric box in all the pictures.

May 28-31 017

 

The first picture on the left below is Tuesday.  The wood post on the right in the picture is the restraining fence.


The picture on the right is May 12 taken by leaning over the fence.
Both are taken from site 40 looking at the river.  Notice the notch on the tree in both pictures.

 

Debby on Tuesday 008A

 

Site 40 Lithia Springs 018A 

Same view from inside Winnona looking out the dining window. May 12
Notice the notch.

Site 40 Lithia Springs 035

 

This is taken looking up from the spot where I am sitting in my chair.  The water is now over the bottom rail of that restraining fence.

Site 40 Lithia Springs 023

 

Sat & Sun 012

 

Site 40, our patio view opposite the river Tuesday and on May 13.  Today’s picture is taken from in front of the fence which you can see in the bottom of the shot.  The other from the far left of the campsite but of the same view.

Debby on Tuesday 016

 

 Sat & Sun 024

 

 

We walk along the road to the boat.  Our usual paths are totally under feet of water.


Back in April the water was so far down below the dock you couldn’t launch from it.

 Lithia Site #38 026

 

Notice how far down we had to go from the posts at the top to launch the kayaks in May.   The picture beside it is Monday. 

 Wednesday (8)

debby 0n monday 030

 

Today no posts at all.  Way under water.  Today you can’t get near where the dock is totally submerged by at least 4 feet or more.  Those are the canoe racks up near the road in the forefront.  The kayak launch is completely submerged.

 

Debby on Tuesday 030

 

We can’t get near the spring from any direction.

 

Here is the road to the parking lot by the spring today.  No pictures of the spring.  We can’t get anywhere near it.

Debby on Tuesday 033

 

The parking lot by the spring is now a lake.

Debby on Tuesday 042

 

P1020487

 

The Life guard station on the left way up on an island June 6th. Notice the beach.

P1020511

 

P1020490

 

Because we can no longer get anywhere near the spring, this shot is zoomed from afar.  But you can see the water is creeping up on the boards of the building.   The water has now run out and under all the wooden railings you can see in the above shots.  No evidence of a spring.  It looks like the spring fence is now in the middle of a giant lake.  The parking lot and spring are one watery lake.

Debby on Wednesday 041 

 

The great blue heron must be a bit confused.

This is what the spring run looked like before the storms.  The great blue is in the middle right.  You can hardly see him until I zoom up.
This is what he is used to doing every day.  Everything in this picture is now WAY under water.

 

Morning Walk (17)

The water is so low his feet are barely getting wet.

Morning Walk (33)

 

Morning Walk (25)

 

This picture shows how rapidly the river is rising.  On Monday,  the great blue is looking at his spring run from farther back on the bank.

 

debby 0n monday 053

 

Tuesday the entire spring run bank is underwater as is the walkway to the natural spring beside it and the picnic area along that walk.  So the great blue moves even further back from his spring run on Tuesday and into the far side of the picnic area.

 

Debby on Tuesday 060

 

Debby on Tuesday 062

 

But today he’s had to go to higher ground.
What about tomorrow?

 Debby on Wednesday 019

 

No word yet on evacuation but the flood warning is in effect until Sunday, the day we are scheduled to leave.

I’d say the drought is over.  Wouldn’t you? 

Debby and us Part II

Monday June 25, 2012
Lithia Springs Site 25
Lithia, Florida

 

Still haven’t heard from my book benefactor. 

 

 

 beautiful mushrooms again today

 

debby 0n monday 003

beautiful mushrooms again today

 

Comments were down the last couple of posts so I hope whoever it is was able to read “Surprise Package”.  If not, here’s the link.  I can’t stand the suspense of not knowing who Santa in June is.  I’d really like to thank you for such a thoughtful gift.

 

debby 0n monday 004
River at the end of the path from site 25 where I used to have to climb down to sit on the bank 

 

It’s not over yet.

 

debby 0n monday 011The path I took yesterday from site 40 to the boat dock 

 

Thanks to those who wrote us about how glad they were that Debby skipped us. Well, not quite.  I guess I gave the impression that it was all over. But in fact it was only over for Monday.

Overnight on Monday, at about 4am,  there is another tornado warning.  Again we are spared but because of the heavy rains overnight there is flooding everywhere and numerous closed roads. David cancels his appointment this morning so we will not have to drive anywhere.  It has been rescheduled for next Monday which is the same day he sees the bone transplant specialist.  I’m not happy about this.  I’d like him to see the hematologist sooner.  But DEBBY is in the way.

 

Our county, Hillsborough, is again under a tornado watch until 2pm this afternoon.  As I begin writing this it is 10:30am.  Hillsborough county is HUGE and the expectation seems to be that the tornadic activity will be in the northern part of the county (where we will be moving next week-end) and so we will be spared in the south.  But we aren’t going anywhere and are monitoring the weather as you can imagine.   This is certainly not what we need to add to our plate.

 

debby 0n monday 013
My favorite tree just off site 40.  It used to be beside the river. It’s knees have disappeared.

 

So what has happened over night?

When the rain lightens up we decide to go out for a walk to see what has happened while we were sleeping.  We walk down to site 40 which I visited yesterday.  What a difference.   The water is up within 3’ of the campsite and the folks in that site have been told to move to higher ground.  

We try to walk down the path I took yesterday to the boat dock but it too is under feet of water.   The boat dock is no longer visible and even the kayak put in posts are almost under water.

 

debby 0n monday 023 Guess we aren’t going this way.

 

debby 0n monday 031 No boat dock no more.  No path on the far right to site 40, other end is above.

 

 

Wow the river has eaten the springs.

 

 

debby 0n monday 035This is the entrance where you used to be able to walk down the stairs to the spring beach and put out your towel or chair.  Notice the life guard station.  It still has a tiny island.

 

The ranger tells us the river has come up 5’ over night.  We get to the spring and see that it is completely drowned.   The river has taken over and the water is up above the walkways and steps.

 

debby 0n monday 039

The great blue heron is gazing out on the spring run which was his permanent fishing grounds but is now far too deep for him.

 

debby 0n monday 053 Blue heron at the spring run which has been taken over by the river and is no longer crystal clear.

The picnic area has flooded.  A little blue heron is hoping there might be something for him in this shallower water.  No bridge from one side of picnic area to the other.

 

debby 0n monday 045

debby 0n monday 052 
New lake between picnic areas but no bridge between.

 

We couldn’t get near the natural spring.  Those folks who have visited us here,  Carrie, Bill & Nancy, Gin & Syl, Roger & Carol  will recognize these spots and probably this one in particular.   I zoomed in on the water level indicator and it says 16’.  Flood stage for the Alafia river is 13’.

  debby 0n monday 056a

debby 0n monday 058

 

debby 0n monday 057

It’s time to get back before the rains start again.

 

As we near the rig,  I come across this little red snake. Looks like he’s heading for high ground too. The park manager and assistant manager drive up to remove some trees that are now leaning precariously over the road.  The manager tells me this is a red racer.  We never had anything but black racers in Virginia so I found him very interesting and very pretty.

 

debby 0n monday 069

 

debby 0n monday 068A

 

 

During this rain lull, I get up on top the RV to sweep the water off of the slide toppers.  We, of course, do not have our awning out.  I sweep off the small sticks and spanish moss that are also all over.  I’m being very careful, it’s wet and slippery up here.   I go up in my bare feet to better feel where I am.

debby 0n monday 080

 

At 3:00pm, the tornado watch is  extended until 11:00pm. Debby is just sitting off the coast about 200 miles.  She’s not moving and is  sending rain rain and more rain.  All I can say is
GO AWAY DEBBY!!

 

At 5:00 we turn on the TV and see coverage of all the damage the tornados and flooding have done.  Several lives have been lost.  And it’s not over yet.  They are talking about Round II.  They say Debbie is now going to turn east and go across Florida near Gainesville and exit to the Atlantic near St. Augustine.   But it’s such a slow moving system that no one knows for sure.  We may get another 2” of rain over night.  I wonder how high the river will be tomorrow when we wake up.  

 

debby 0n monday 077A On the walk, We see numerous beautiful butterflies but these are the only two who will pose.

 

At 7:45pm we get another tornado warning.  It appears to be moving up a corridor about 3 miles from us.  We watch to see how many minutes we have but before we can get the door open it’s over.  There are reports that a funnel cloud went over the Lithia firehouse but not on the ground.  People saw it as it moved along.   These things move so fast that they are gone or hitting you before you can do anything.  Rain on the roof is not sounding quite so nice anymore.

debby 0n monday 090A