Pebbles in the Milk Jug

Pebbles in the Milk Jug

Old Man River is finally coming down out of ‘minor’ flood. Should be able to get the boat in wearing knee boots in a couple of days. The Miss is like the scales of justice. It has been owly since ice out–but its about to get great!

A couple of folks have recently asked if flooding in the Miss is more frequent now than it used to be. I think this needs to be looked at in cosmic terms rather than the human perspective.

In the beginning, God created the Mississippi River. He looked down and saw it was good. God figured this great River should carry an allegorical gallon milk jug of water. He poured it across the land and moved on to other work. To this very day, that same gallon comes down the River to the Gulf of Mexico. The Bible tells us the Creator gave man stewardship over the land. Things went pretty well in this regard for thousands of years as native Americans realized thriving meant finding harmony with nature rather than futile attempts to bend this force of nature to the will of man.

Then the white man arrived–like a guy from Chicago moving to the country, drawn by it beauty and deciding he could improve it.

The mighty U.S. Congress mandated the Corps of Engineers maintain a channel for navigation. They complied, throwing a handful of pebbles in that allegorical gallon milk jug. later, Congress mandated the channel be made deeper to allow for more ‘progress. More pebbles in the jug. some concrete, too in the form of 33 massive lock & dam systems—and there are still 164 allegorical ounces coming down the River, now obliged to find a way around all the pebbles.

maintaining a 9 foot channel for navigation reinforces the first rule of plumbing–silt rolls downhill. Backwaters of the Mississippi which used to hold the displaced water silted in, clear up to pool 11 at Guttenberg. When I was a kid, just 50 years ago growing up on pool 13 downstream you could get from the backwaters to the main channel a half-dozen different ways. No more. One dredge cut now, with the silt send on downstream to reinforce the first rule of plumbing.

So here we sit, mid-May, with the river just coming down out of ‘minor flood’ to ‘action stage’. Those who work on the River could care less what the USGS calls the River conditions. If you can’t launch the boat anywhere–that’s a FLOOD.

Nowadays there are about a quart of pebbles in the allegorical milk jug, with 164 ounces still coming down the River. In a few days enough of those ounces will pass downstream to the point where I can get the boat wet again. Lord willin’ this will be in just a day or two.

When this happens, the fishin’ will go from good to off the charts in a very short time. When this happens, you can read about it in this blog…once I get off the River.

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