Holding Back the Flood in 2023 (Apocalypse update from Galicia)

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.


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