The Suwannee River is still above flood stage near Luraville and at many other locations. Several roads are still closed because they are under water. This past weekend I spent some time around the river near Luraville and saw firsthand what some people have to do to get from their homes to the store and back home again.
Some people who live on the river have to drive to the location where the road starts to flood, and then take a boat the rest of the way to their house. Imagine how much more difficult it is to get a few bags of groceries from your vehicle into the boat and then back off of the boat again. Now imagine having to go through this extra hassle for weeks. That is exactly what some folks have had to do starting around Dec. 16. The river is slowly receding, but it may be a few more weeks before the water has receded enough to allow passage on the roads again.
Other people who own river lots have an even more difficult row to hoe. Imagine getting out of your vehicle and into a boat but not being able to boat all the way to your house. Depending on how far down the road you are from the initial road flooding, you may have a hike after you get back to high land, or you might have a hike and then another body of water to cross before you can get to your house. This is about as inconvenient of a commute as I can imagine. Getting any large quantity of supplies back to these areas is exhausting.
Back when the river flooded in 2009, I brought a neighbor of mine a few items from the store and some medicine that he needed. That required paddling, a portage, more paddling and then a hike. I didn’t mind bring him the supplies because I was already going to have to traverse the flooded terrain to check on my property. When I got back home after going out there and back, I was exhausted. I thought about getting an amphibious vehicle, but they are very hard to find and often far too expensive for me. I have opted instead to affix some lawnmower tires to my kayak to make walking with it much less tiring.
As you are commuting to your job this week or just going to the store, remember what a blessing it is to be able to drive right up to your house. There are many Suwannee County residents who are either displaced from their river homes or are making a very inconvenient commute. Keep these folks in your thoughts, and pray that it will stop raining long enough for the river to get back inside its banks soon.
Eric lives in Suwannee County and is a public school educator. He is an independent contractor. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.