Sunday, September 21, 2008

In which Tim goes swimming (by accident)...

My last entry or two may have given you the impression that hurricane season is mind numbingly boring. It definitely has times where I want to tear my hair out due to the frustration brought on by days and days of inactivity, but those are accented by episodes of excitement verging on terror that quickly get the adrenaline flowing again. I experienced one of these episodes last week.

There are two roads that go up to my site. Most people use the "old road" all the time. It is not terribly steep, and you have to wade through the river at the end. The "new road" is about twice as long, much steeper, but avoids water. So when the storms are here and the river is up, people revert to the new road. That was how I went home after having been sequestered at my friends house for a week.

One day, I noticed that people were crossing the river on foot again, so I decided to hike down to investigate. The water is full of sediment due to the flooding, so one cannot tell how deep it is just by looking. What I could tell is that it was a lot lower than it had been a few days earlier, so I decided to cross. I didn't have anywhere in particular to go. I just wanted to see if the river was crossable.

So I secured my rubber peasant sandals, and picked up a stick to use to test the depth, and in I went. It was fine. Well below my knees, though moving pretty fast. Then I found the hole. I guess when the river is moving faster than usual, it picks up the big rocks that normally just stay put in the river bed, and starts rolling them along. My stick somehow missed an eight inch drop, but my foot found it. I stumbled, but retained my footing, breathing a sigh of relief.

Then I looked up, and noticed something floating away on the current. My left sandal had come off, and was heading for the ocean. So I naturally did what anyone would do in the situation; I took off running after the thing. It's a good sandal, after all!

I didn't really pay attention to the fact that the water was getting deeper until I was in up to my chest, and the current was actually carrying me. I managed to swim over to the bank, and pull myself up on some conveniently placed vines. I never got the shoe back.

So I hiked back up the steep, rocky hill wearing only one sandal, and dripping wet. My neigbors thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen. I had to agree that I looked pretty ridiculous.

So what did I learn from this exercise in stupidity? 1. Always cross the river either barefoot, or with sandals that are strapped on. 2. Know how deep water is before I go charging into it like a crazed hippo.

All's well that ends well! I have new sandals now.

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