Water Matters

This is the closest to flying I'll ever get.  A squirrel's eye view of the big basket Oak on the Low Road. May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

This is the closest to flying I’ll ever get. A squirrel’s eye view of the big basket Oak on the Low Road. May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

By PONTINFUS MINIMUS

PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOOD OF 2011 THAT ARE TAKEN ON THE FLOODWATERS (TAKEN BY DRIFTWOOD JOHNNIE – aka JOHN RUSKEY of QUAPAW CANOE COMPANY) AND FROM AN AIRCRAFT (TAKEN BY POOR WILLIAM) ARE IN THIS POST

Water is presently occupying the thoughts of much of the world’s population, and for an array of reasons. In drought stricken areas the lack of water is having disastrous effects, similarly in monsoon and tsunami affected areas the overabundance of water is having deleterious outcomes for those overwhelmed by its unharnessed power.

And, in the Mississippi Delta and lands along the routes of the waters feeding into the Mighty Mississippi River, the flooding and potential for great flooding has folks justly atwitter and concerned.

Carbon-based life forms–that’s us folks–must have water to survive. Most of the world’s great cultures were established near waterways. Water directs and affects the lives of billions of people on a daily basis. Water matters.

Water is mentioned in the Bible more than 700 times. The first mention is in the second verse of Genesis–the first book in the Bible–“…and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

The last mention is in the last chapter of the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible: “And whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.” Water matters to all living things. Water is physical and spiritual. All living things must have water in order to survive. Water matters.

In the same last chapter of the Bible, John, the Revelator and disciple whom Jesus said he loved, wrote: “… and he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” God equates eternal life to water. Water matters.

The very life-giving substance created by God to give His creation sustenance and nourishment was used by Him to destroy “every creature that has the breath of life in it.” After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah, his desendants (that’s us folks), and with every living creature on earth that He would never again cut off all life by the waters of a flood.

In the same way that the sun can soften some materials and harden others, water can rejuvenate all living things and it can deprive the same living things of life.

Too often we are ethnocentric in developing countries and think because some natural disaster effects us directly that we are the only ones to have that type of adversity.

When monsoons hit Bangladesh, tens and even hundreds of thousands of folks die and millions lose the few meager possessions they have.  With the Mississippi River reaching crests overreaching those seen during the Great Flood of 1927, it is easy for “end-timers” to think that the Second Coming must be on its way.
Man (using the singular male form here for mankind–no offense ladies, I promise) has built levees to contain and mitigate what the Mighty Mississippi River wants to do with a mind of its own, and Pontificus is intimately thankful good men and women had the foresight to do so.

Had it not been for flooding years ago, the fertile, fecund land we enjoy the produce and fruits from would not be as rich as it is. This is not to say Pontificus wants it to flood–quite the antithesis–but he does recognize historically that floods are part of nature’s plan for a convoluted type of restorative redemption.

Just as forest fires out West can destroy thousands of acres of usable land, homes, and livelyhoods, the same fire is mandatory in God’s design for opening certain seeds that cannot open without the intense heat provided by the same fire. Fire and water matter.

While I pray daily that God will show His mighty hand and stay the waters of the Great Ole Man River, The Father of Waters, The Mighty Mississippi River, the most notable mobile landmark associated with the often Great State of Mississippi, I also pray that the areas affected by the flood will see His restorative design and will regenerate, refresh, and revivify all the areas and folks affected by the power of His creation.

In the book of Proverbs God said He gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep His command. He is in control and all is filtered through His loving hands, but He also commands us to pray for His goodness and for the safety and protection of all His creation.

Clarence Thomas’s grandmother on his confirmation day to the United States Supreme Court said it best, “My God, He sits high and looks low.” Meaning, God is God and we are not; though He resides far above us on every level, He looks down where we are and He cares about our concerns and our condition.

It is also written in Proverbs, “As water reflects a face, so man’s heart reflects the man. Let us look at the waters and learn more about God’s creation, ourselves, and most importantly, our fellow man.

 

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Photographs taken by DELTA BOHEMIAN DRIFTWOOD JOHNNIE (aka John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company) on May 11, 2011 on floodwaters of Mississippi River Flood of 2011.

A couple of days I decided to explore Crowley's Ridge.  All the roads are flooded in St. Francis National Forest above Helena, so I had to take my favorite form of transportation... May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

A couple of days I decided to explore Crowley’s Ridge. All the roads are flooded in St. Francis National Forest above Helena, so I had to take my favorite form of transportation… May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

The water was up to the spillway at Storm Creek Lake. May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

The water was up to the spillway at Storm Creek Lake. May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Storm Creek Road disappears into the highwater just above the intersection with the Low Road.  What do we do now? May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John

Storm Creek Road disappears into the highwater just above the intersection with the Low Road. What do we do now? May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John

No worries!  At Quapaw "Our road begins where yours ends.."  What better way to get out than by canoe? May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

No worries! At Quapaw “Our road begins where yours ends..” What better way to get out than by canoe? May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

And so begins the "Canoe Canopy Tour" -- paddling twenty to thirty feet above the Low Road in the canopy of the trees that usually we're walking or driving under! May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

And so begins the “Canoe Canopy Tour” — paddling twenty to thirty feet above the Low Road in the canopy of the trees that usually we’re walking or driving under! May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Flying amongst the sweetgums. May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Flying amongst the sweetgums. May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

I left the road to wander through the woods -- here the river is flowing along the base of Crowley's Ridge -- through a field of rhododendrons filling the understory of a silent grove of aoks. May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

I left the road to wander through the woods — here the river is flowing along the base of Crowley’s Ridge — through a field of rhododendrons filling the understory of a silent grove of aoks. May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

 

The is the closest to flying I'll ever get. A squirrel's eye view of the big basket Oak on the Low Road. May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

The is the closest to flying I’ll ever get. A squirrel’s eye view of the big basket Oak on the Low Road. May 11 Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Turning East down the road to the mouth of the St. Francis River. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Turning East down the road to the mouth of the St. Francis River. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

This is where Storm Creek used to flow under the Low Road -- Paddling over the Storm Creek Bridge -- weird feelings about the perspective of things and the transient nature of reality -- Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

This is where Storm Creek used to flow under the Low Road — Paddling over the Storm Creek Bridge — weird feelings about the perspective of things and the transient nature of reality — Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Some beaver refugees have burrowed into a bank along Crowley's Ridge (under overhanging trees) Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Some beaver refugees have burrowed into a bank along Crowley’s Ridge (under overhanging trees) Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Mysterious bubbles emerging in water over flooded forest. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Mysterious bubbles emerging in water over flooded forest. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Visions of serene light and creativity of patterns of color. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Visions of serene light and creativity of patterns of color. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

phew!  What smells so bad?  An unlucky deer caught in the middle of a flooding woods near the main channel of the St. Francis River. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

phew! What smells so bad? An unlucky deer caught in the middle of a flooding woods near the main channel of the St. Francis River. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

I scared a raccoon away from some fish remains. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

I scared a raccoon away from some fish remains. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

At the mouth of the St. Francis River. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

At the mouth of the St. Francis River. Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

The scale of the river is overwhelming -- looking upstream towards the Tunica Cutoff and Walnut Bend beyond.  At this point there is flowing water stretching from Crowley's Ridge to the other side of Tunica Lake & Flower Lake, almost twenty miles wide! Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

The scale of the river is overwhelming — looking upstream towards the Tunica Cutoff and Walnut Bend beyond. At this point there is flowing water stretching from Crowley’s Ridge to the other side of Tunica Lake & Flower Lake, almost twenty miles wide! Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Coming back into Helena after the Canoe Canopy Tour -- and floating nine miles of the main channel in a 7-8 knot current -- the Helena Bridge never looked so low to the water --  even the towboats are doing the "canoe limbo" these days! Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Coming back into Helena after the Canoe Canopy Tour — and floating nine miles of the main channel in a 7-8 knot current — the Helena Bridge never looked so low to the water — even the towboats are doing the “canoe limbo” these days! Photo by Delta Bohemian John Ruskey

Photographs taken by Pontificus Minimus in Mr. Lil John’s plane while flying over the Mississippi River Delta flood near Friars Point, Mississippi on May 11, 2011

 

Working on a Sand Boil next to the levee near Rena Lara, Mississippi due to Mississippi Flood.. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Working on a Sand Boil next to the levee near Rena Lara, Mississippi due to Mississippi Flood.. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Working on a Sand Boil next to the levee near Rena Lara, Mississippi due to Mississippi Flood. Note: water seepage under main levee into a field. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Working on a Sand Boil next to the levee near Rena Lara, Mississippi due to Mississippi Flood. Note: water seepage under main levee into a field. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Working on a Sand Boil next to the levee near Rena Lara, Mississippi due to Mississippi Flood. Note: water seepage under main levee into a field. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Working on a Sand Boil next to the levee near Rena Lara, Mississippi due to Mississippi Flood. Note: water seepage under main levee into a field. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Delta Bohemian home with water at the edge of his home that was on a very high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River before the flood. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

A Delta Bohemian home with water at the edge of his home that was on a very high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River before the flood. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Delta Bohemian home with water at the edge of his home that was on a very high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River before the flood. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

A Delta Bohemian home with water at the edge of his home that was on a very high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River before the flood. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Delta Bohemian home with water at the edge of his home that was on a very high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River before the flood. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

A Delta Bohemian home with water at the edge of his home that was on a very high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River before the flood. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Home surrounded by the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Home surrounded by the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Water right at the edge of a home that used to be overlooking the Mississippi River before the flood. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Water right at the edge of a home that used to be overlooking the Mississippi River before the flood. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Another Home surrounded by the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Another Home surrounded by the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Same home overcome with the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. PHoto by The Delta Bohemian

Same home overcome with the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. PHoto by The Delta Bohemian

Same home overcome with the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. PHoto by The Delta Bohemian

Same home overcome with the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. PHoto by The Delta Bohemian

Mississippi River water creeping up the main levee during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Mississippi River water creeping up the main levee during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Mississippi River water creeping up the main levee during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Mississippi River water creeping up the main levee during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Mississippi River water creeping up the main levee during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Mississippi River water creeping up the main levee during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Cattle grazing as the Mississippi River water creeps up the main levee during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Cattle grazing as the Mississippi River water creeps up the main levee during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

River Barge maneuvering a bend during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

River Barge maneuvering a bend during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

River Barge maneuvering a bend during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

River Barge maneuvering a bend during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

River Barge maneuvering a bend during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

River Barge maneuvering a bend during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

River Barge maneuvering a bend during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

River Barge maneuvering a bend during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

The flooded and very wide Mississippi River during the Flood of 2011. Delta Bohemian Lil John's land is somewhere in that photo. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

The flooded and very wide Mississippi River during the Flood of 2011. Delta Bohemian Lil John’s land is somewhere in that photo. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

The flooded and very wide Mississippi River during the Flood of 2011. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

The flooded and very wide Mississippi River during the Flood of 2011. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Farm Work Shop of DB Lil John McKee inundated with the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS inside the main levee. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Farm Work Shop of DB Lil John McKee inundated with the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS inside the main levee. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Another shot of Farm Work Shop of DB Lil John McKee inundated with the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS inside the main levee. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Another shot of Farm Work Shop of DB Lil John McKee inundated with the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS inside the main levee. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Mississippi River taking over Mississippi Limestone during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Mississippi River taking over Mississippi Limestone during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Mississippi River taking over Scoular during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Mississippi River taking over Scoular during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 near Clarksdale, MS. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Irrigation Pivot in DB Lil John McKee's farm field behind the levee of the Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Irrigation Pivot in DB Lil John McKee’s farm field behind the levee of the Mississippi River Flood of 2011. Photo by The Delta Bohemian


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Comments

  1. lil'sister says:

    My heart breaks for everyone to see the scope of this devastation. Billy, when did John shoot these last overhead shots? When is the river expected to crest in Friars Point?

    • I shot them yesterday when he flew Victor and me over y’all’s land! Your brother is a rock! It is almost beyond my grasp to comprehend!

      • PW, are you out of your mind climbing in a plane with the Swamp Rat at the controls and Victor as his co-pilot? I’d rather play hopscotch blindfolded in a mine field.

        But in all seriousness you all are in my thoughts. I wish there was better coverage of this disaster up here. But for some reason the news media up north doesn’t believe it’s that big a deal when people who seem to be able to take care of themselves, their families and their friends are facing very tough, dangerous and difficult times.

        You guys take care. And stay safe.

  2. DeltaLady71 says:

    Though the subject of these pictures is sad the pictures are breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Cindy McWilliams says:

    Delta Bohemian, sending love from the north. We are good friends of Lil’ Sis and LOVE her. When asked about her hometown, she sent us to your website. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and breathtaking, heartbreaking pictures. Hope the water recedes so the clean up can begin…when will things feel normal?

    • Any friend of Megerdale Twist is a friend of ours! Thanks for the love! If you desire, go to our home page and sign up to receive our free email push on Thursdays that has all our new strange Delta info in it! Tell Lil Sis I said the levee will hold! 🙂

  4. thanks for sharing info and picks..also a nicely written overview of water on earth.

    thoughts and prayers for everyone one and may the waters crest and recede sooner than expected.

    love and peace to all.

  5. Great pictures by Ruskey-wish we had been with him. The River crested yesterday and is starting a gradual descent now. The scope of the flood is hard to imagine from media reports – would love to see somebody in the media give a better understanding of it by using maps. It would be interesting to post some Corps maps (I think they exist). The real devastation IMO will be in the south Delta, where we pray their levee holds. The water will overtop it, as designed, but it needs to stay intact lest the entire south Delta be flooded.

  6. P.S. good article William – it reminds me of John the Revelator by our own Son House. I just got on Itunes and listened to it. Check it out.
    Hi to Cindy and Lil Sis.

  7. lil'sister says:

    Hey John, you’re right: It would be interesting to see some of those Corps maps. I found a link (below) that is almost as good. You can mouse over the river and get a direct comparison. The only problem is I’d really like to know exactly where this satellite image was taken so I have a point of reference. I hope you take as many aftermath photos as you have of the actual flood.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/11/mississippi-river-floods-satellite-photos_n_860630.html

  8. When I look at the photos of your shed, John, and of my brother’s cabin, it looks so calm. Eerie. Almost surreal. Then I re-read this that Ruskey wrote for me to illustrate clearly just how fast the Mississippi River is flowing and how much volume it contains….

    “Madge, I really cannot fathom it either, its a moving ocean, a flowing world, it feels as wide as the earth and as deep as it gets. They say we’re now at 2.5 million cfs, which means two and a half million cubic feet per second passing downstream, which is an unimaginably huge flow. You know how big a cubic foot of water is? Its almost seven and a half gallons. It weighs about 62 pounds. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that it’s like 22 Olympic size swim pools flowing past every second, which still doesn’t really convey the feeling.

    On the other hand they say this is the average flow for the Congo — and also the Amazon runs 20 times the size of the Mississippi…”

    I wonder if Redbone’s house will make it? I pray it does. We miss you. Thinking about you alot!!! Holla!

    • seems i heard someone on the national news say this flow rate would fill the superdome to the top in around 30 seconds.

      read today someone died in vicksburg due to the flood waters.

      i pray for those south of us all the way to the gulf of mexico.

      thanks for the information and pictures/videos of the clarksdale area.

  9. Colleen Herren Bosarge says:

    My heart goes out to each and every person affected by this horrific event. Your website has had the only extensive photographs of the Clarksdale/Rena Lara area. My father was born and raised in this area and has been desperate for information. Thanks!

    • We are glad you found us, Colleen. I’m glad your father has taken some relief in looking at the photos. John Ruskey just spent 5 days on the river from Memphis to Vicksburg and took close to 1000 photographs. We will post them up next week so watch for those.

      Did you see the overhead video of Coahoma County area?

  10. hiway 61 north of natchez closed.

    [IMG]http://i1216.photobucket.com/albums/dd378/mak761/ss-110518-floods-03_grid-5×2.jpg[/IMG]

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