Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I see the Light

If you've been to WhitesCreek Journal Global Headquarters, you know that I love a good storm. The storm viewing room, which doubles as the bedroom, has a glass front facing Southeast over the gorge. The ridge behind the house is a little over 500 feet above us, but we are still roughly 250 feet above the class two rapid below which signals the end of the whitewater canoe and kayak run for the four creeks that come together a mile and a half upstream. When we have a good electrical storm it can be as one house sitter called it, "A religious experience."

It is a glorious thing to see a soaring bald eagle from above. It is interesting to look down on an Army Air helicopter violating FAA regulations as it hovers up the creek with incredible noise reverberating back and forth from wall to wall in the gorge. But friends I'm here to tell you, when Zeus hurls that ionized javelin past your bedroom window in the middle of the night, you can see it with your eyes closed and go from a soundly sleeping repose to standing at attention straight up in a waterbed in point oh, oh, two seconds...faster if you weren't sleeping all that soundly.

Everybody in the valley got woken up by the storm early Monday morning. And everyone I talked to remembers the one big strike. You know...the one where the blinding light and the horrendous boom occur at the same time. I remember one more blinding flash. It happened after I reset the breaker to our well pump and tried to throw the pressure switch to get the water back on. Just to be sure, I did it again with the same result. It took a minute for my eyes to adjust back to the predawn dark.

We have water in reserve for coffee but nobody got a shower that morning. Two hundred and thirty feet down a little hole in the ground is a glob of blackened copper windings that used to be individual wires inside the well pump. The little wires have now been joined in molten matrimony and have sworn to never pump water for me again.

This would be exactly the time that my mother in law had arrived to spend a month with us.

One well service company says they can get here as early as Thursday.




  1. Poor WC! I went through that about six months ago -- five days without water. Wish I could send you Greg with his trusty truck driven by Fernando, well-motor ace. It always happens when guests are coming. Whereas I don't believe in god, I do believe in gods, among which is the Trickster, always standing by, ready to drive you nuts.

    The (expensive) answer is to put in a rainwater system. Too expensive for me once I'd paid for the well (280' + -- I'm surprised that in your territory you have to go as deep as 230, but it must be really nice water).

  2. Thanks, PW.

    I figure it's already a kind of rainwater system, but I know what you mean. The geology of the Cumberland Plateau is unique and it doesn't hold water very well. My neighbors just across the road have their pump at the same depth as mine, only they didn't have to drill but 60 feet. It's the price I pay for being a cliff dweller and that's just fine with me.

    We should be back in business tomorrow afternoon.


  3. If not, you cpu;d brace yourself for a few splashes in the creek!

  4. I lived in rural Spain in a water-scarce area where this great galumphing spoiled American had to learn to attend to personal hygiene with the benefit of about a gallon of water (excluding flushes) at day. When my well motor went out, I swung back into that routine, thinking "pure" and "grey" water and coping.

    Even after being back in the US for a good stretch of time, I get the heebie-jeebies when I hear gallons of water rushing through the various machines. There's a water scandal at the moment in our part of Texas (and all over Texas) -- people buying up water rights, water being our next oil in terms of ownership and scandalous profiteering. As a water nut, I find it shocking that government at all levels is allowing this to happen. Here stoppeth my rant.