The Hundred Year Flood in Nashville:
Six months on . . .
When a flood overruns the banks of a river, things are swept into surprising places. In early May of 2010 my neighborhood and all of Nashville saw the most dramatic flood in living memory. The news cameras caught a building floating down the interstate. One child was swept through a culvert only to survive. The rivers rose to inundate homes, schools, businesses, cars, roads and bridges. The death toll was over 30. The financial cost of the destruction was estimated in the billions. Efforts to sort through the damage and rebuild from the destruction continue and will for months and years to come.
When lives are overrun by dramatic changes, things are swept into surprising places. One day this summer as I walked along the Harpeth River Greenway, I looked up at the right moment to see a very strange sight high above me. In a river birch between the paved path and the water about 25 feet up was a door lodged in the branches. It brought me up short. A door in mid-air, high above the ground? Where did it lead? What could it mean?
I keep thinking about that door. The image seems rife with possibilities. What are the surprises of the flood still yet to be revealed? What doors may appear when things shift and where do they lead? Can we go through a door that hangs in mid-air? What does it open up in our imaginations?
I think about dramatic changes at times past in my own life and wonder where did new doors appear when things around me and inside my soul were shifting? Finishing large projects or academic degrees or turning corners in my learning have been moments of internal and external shifting when new things rise up and doors appear in strange places. New opportunities take me in previously unimagined directions. But such moments do require a different sort of seeing.
It is not every day you see a door in a tree. Tilting at a strange angle, two stories overhead. Yet there it hangs inviting possibility. Who knows where it will lead? Or how to enter by that door? Or what opening it might invite into one’s life?
It strikes me that creativity and courage are required to interpret and to open such a door out of place. To see what has been dislodged in the sweeping changes of life. To open oneself to the change.