ATHERTON WETLAND— 140th Street west of the Ely Blacktop has been flooding for a couple of weeks. The recent heavy rains, and those forecast for today and tomorrow are expected to create more flooding. The local result is the Atherton Wetland gets wet, holding water destined for the Coralville Lake, the Iowa River and beyond— serving its purpose in our owned and built environment.
June is a time of flooding, something Iowans are getting used to managing. The water is expected to flow over the 712 foot Coralville Lake spillway later this week, and the government is making preparations for the flood. In the personal world of quotidian affairs, the Ely blacktop is still open, and I should be able to make my way to Cedar Rapids later today to run errands.
Our lawn is lush, green and long— a habitat for birds, rabbits and other small mammals and amphibians. When the rain ends, it will be a four hour project to mow, bag and pile the grass clippings near the garden: a harvest of mulch for a garden that badly needs weed suppression. Garden weeds like rain as much as the lawn does.
It is just as well the rain came last weekend. There is plenty of inside work to do and the garden can be a distraction. This year, more than others, I feel a connection to the earth. Despite the rain, I harvested lettuce, arugula, spring garlic, chives, spring onions and radishes for our dinner salad. Perhaps it is the work on the farm and the understanding of where our food comes from that pulls me in. Perhaps something deeper.
Would I could let go and spend my days tending the garden and harvesting the produce of rain, sunlight, soil and biodiversity. For now, with the reality of flooding roads and other exigencies, that remains a dream.