By Mark W. Danielson
Right now, the South is experiencing record floods. Memphis is currently battling its problem with dignity and determination. Volunteers are tirelessly working to sandbag existing levees and create new ones. But as the water recedes in Memphis, the rising water will hit Vicksburg and every city along the Mississippi until it spills into the Gulf of Mexico. I have witnessed the flooding first-hand on my flights in and out of Memphis. In many areas, it is difficult to make out the river itself. In the spirit of Spock’s “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, The Army Corps of Engineers blew holes in levees upstream to minimize the damage downstream. It appears it was the right decision, but for those living in the flood plain, the Army’s decision must have been horrendous. The media reports that this flood may wipe out the South’s fertile soil for years. Thus I introduce you to our current State of Fear. As Michael Crichton wrote in his book of the same title, there will always be a state of fear. Give it a week and the media will spread new fear and the South will be once again be forgotten.
No doubt this flood will impact the farmers’ ability to plant, but the season is early. Time will tell whether there can be a planting this year. As for the soil being ruined, I can only think of how the annual Nile River floods brought essential nutrients until it was dammed. Nowadays, these nutrients must be provided by man. Unless the Mississippi is bringing contamination along with its nutrients, the soil may have long term benefits from this flood.
Blaming everything on Global Warming inspired Crichton to write State of Fear. Those who have read it know it is the best non-fiction fiction book that’s ever been printed. For those who haven’t read it, it is probably worth your time. The world is in a constant state of physical change. People are Earth’s only inhabitants that are in a constant state of fear.
I have touched on this subject before and reiterate that fear is what mystery is all about. Fear of what will come next. Fear it might happen to you. The media is successful in presenting images that capitalize on this just as mystery authors capitalize on instilling fear in its readers. Sometimes fear is good, but it’s best to keep it in perspective. In the case of the floods, accept the fact that this major climatic event is no different from the devastating 1927 flood. On the positive side, authors like John Grisham may find this flood inspiring for a new mystery.