Sometime after midnight on New Year’s Eve, i.e., in the first few hours of 2023, we had the heaviest rainfall since I arrived in Galicia two years ago. By the time morning came, it was still pelting down. Though it eased off quite a bit, when my wife got up, around 10 am, she found water literally pouring in through a grouted crack in the wall, in the front entrance. She called me to come and have a look, but I was warm in bed with my cat on my lap, hard at work, and I declined her invitation. I was assuming by her lack of alarm that, whatever it was, it was easily revolved.
After about half an hour listening to my wife mopping and wondering what was taking her so long, I got up and discovered the kitchen, as well as the entrance, was flooded. There was a little fount of water in the east-wall of the kitchen, feeding into a slowly rising lake. My wife had not noticed! She had only been wondering why it was taking so long to mop up the water in the entrance.
The rest of New Years’ Day was spent bailing out the rainwater from the kitchen, entrance, laundry room and the main living room (where the water was slowly creeping and where it might do some real damage). We used half a dozen small buckets and several large rubber containers, making endless trips back and forth to the toilet and kitchen sink, like the most famous scene in Fantasia (Mickey as the sorcerer’s apprentice). We had turned off the power in the kitchen, and the power soon went out throughout the house. I later discovered it was only the older wiring system that had shorted, so in fact we also had some power in the kitchen (necessary, as it turned out).
After the first hour of bailing, I realized we were fighting a losing battle and called the local builder. After wishing him “Feliz Año,” I told him our situation and he agreed to stop by. He arrived within half an hour, looked through the front door but did not enter, and then started to give me advice on how to prevent this from happening in future. I told him we needed a right-now kind of solution! He said there was no point calling the fire brigade because the house would fill up again half an hour after they left, due to how much water was already in the walls. Our house is partially underground, you see, as well as being situated on a hillside. The ground goes down quite a few feet from one side of the property to the other, and there is a large area of declining land on the east side of the house. This was where all the rainwater was coming from.
I asked the builder if he had an electric pump; he said he had a small one and went off to fetch it. When he came back, we set the pump up in the kitchen to suck the water from the floor and feed it into the sink, and he left us to it. Even with the pump going, the water level remained constant (about half an inch deep) for several hours of bailing and pumping. This was the low point of the day. No matter how fast we bailed out the water, working in different areas of the house with the pump working the whole time, the water level remained the same! At one point, I even checked to make sure the pipe below the kitchen sink hadn’t burst! It was Groundhog Day of the Flood.
By about 4:30 pm (which was about when the rain became only a light shower), I decided I couldn’t keep it up any longer. I suggested we leave the pump to do its thing and quit. As long as water was no longer encroaching beyond the entrance into the living room, I decided, we could wait it out till morning, when mercifully, the forecast predicted several days of sunshine.
We left the pump running and collapsed onto the couch to watch a two-and-a-half hour world war one movie, in instalments (All Quiet on the Western Front). We checked the pump regularly and paused to make a mushroom and spinach omelette dinner (until then, we had subsisted on cheese and crackers and chocolate). One of the first scenes in the movie showed German soldiers bailing water out of the trenches with their helmets, and the movie, grueling as it was, helped put our local disaster into context.
By 10 o’ clock, the water appeared not to be seeping through the walls anymore, most of it having been sucked up by the pump, thank Neptune! Enough, at least, for us to retire to bed and leave the clean-up for the morning (today). What a day, what a day!
As well as coming closer to despair than it is wise ever to get, I was quite mystified throughout this experience: how had things got so bad so quickly? In over a year of living in this house, we have had plenty of rain, and yet barely so much as a leak to contend with. There had been no sign that we were in such a precarious position, none at all. But eventually, we divined the signs that we had missed.
Firstly, we had paid a bulldozer guy to move some of the earth at the east side of the house last year, without disinterring that side of the house entirely. This allowed the rainwater to get closer to the house, soak into the bank, into the wall, and into our kitchen. Secondly, what only occurred to us this morning, a few weeks ago they logged a whole pine forest (and some eucalyptuses too) just up the hill from us, and cleared land (i.e., dead roots) does not absorb water the way forested land does.
On the one hand, we had made ourselves more vulnerable to cascading water from higher up; on the other, industrial forces had ensured that a whole lot more water came down upon us from above.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, a flood shall come to upon man’s household without warning; and he shall find himself woefully unprepared for that day! And there will be much bailing and gnashing of teeth.
Plug up the holes in your arks, hermanos y hermanas!
And now. Let’s get practical.
The first event of 2023 I have to announce is an unprecedented invitation from Dave Oshana for this Saturday the 7th January: “Enlightenment Transmission Newcomer Gateway,” subtitle: “Rare chance to be eligible for this year’s meetings.” (Note also: “Newcomers must email Dave well in advance to complete registration.”)
How unprecedented is this invite? You will have to come and see for yourself! But the mysterious truth is that every such event is really unprecedented…
To underscore my solidarity with El Davo (no relation to Davos) in his generous new undertaking (no relation to embalmers), I am also offering a unique opportunity, as follows: any first-timers, newcomers, or non-regular participants who sign up for the fr33 Dave event (or the Sunday event that follows it, though this one may not be open to all) are also invited to attend (and help make possible) a fr33 online meeting with myself.
This is for the purpose of exploring the many-layered question of who-or-what Dave Oshana is and how you can experience the Enlightenment Transmission for yourself, with the aim of sharing our experiences of both, to help us to get a clearer, sharper sense of the potential benefits of this wondrous and under-appreciated process. Depending on how many (or rather, how few) sign-ups there are, this could even mean a free 1:1 with myself (with the same focus).
If (and when) you sign-up for this Saturday’s Dave event (if you feel like it), email me and let me know you have done that, most especially if you are interested in a cross-over JaHo meet-up to help maximize the benefits. I will then organize a meeting, for one or more of the days immediately after Saturday 7th (i.e., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th of January).
That’s all! Any feedback you have to this newsletter, or questions for me, let me hear from you.