I flicked through the stream of water as it jittered down the path. The surrounding green plush, the serenity, and the solitude. Heaven on earth or that’s what I thought it to be. Despite the chirping birds and the deer on the lookout crossing my path, the area was surprisingly empty and calm. Probably this is what we label as the calmness post or preceding a storm.
I arrived in the city to find it empty. Not a single soul visible around the nine corner lake. It was all around the news that a disaster had stuck the north. Videos of people being swept away by the sudden flow of river were doing rounds on social media.
As a kingfisher flew by snapping its pray in the glimpse of an eye’ I stared at the river. It was the same river, motivating and inspiring, clean, streaming through the belly hill making its way to the lands unknown. Such conundrum, it was disheartening to believe that the same water was the cause of a catastrophe. Towns were swept away in the north, behind the hills by this steady stream that lay bereft of anger at my feet.
As the cold and jittery water sprinkled by my toes, I shifted my gaze to the infrastructure at the bank of the river. Is this what they call development? I always thought that cities and rivers went together. Since time immemorial humans have had establishments adjacent to the rivers. This was resultant of the easy access to fresh water and navigation. As the rivers changed flows, the establishments crumbled and shifted to form anew. Yet humans have a plausible memory, the ability to negate and ignore the very stream that it thrived up on. The strange tendency to forget rivers.
As the human establishment grew in size they created alternate systems of water storage, inter alia the humans constructed water reservoirs, reducing their immediate dependence on the rivers for fresh water. Rail and road systems were innovated and blatant constructions were preferred over the river for navigation. The resultant effluents and pollutants were spilled and drained through sewers into it.
It is a point of observation that humans who have planted distant settlements, the majority of those have invariably shown the least regard for the proper selection of localities for the sites of their colonial cities. The same in general may be ascribed to the commercial spirit taking the lead, the embouchures of great rivers were the first object of desire.
Perhaps it was an existing structure or planning. Perhaps the city and the towns were warned of the nightmare. Yet dissuading as it may be, humans requisite such post deluge efforts. The cities need to start thinking a little before dealing with their drainage problems, before the drainage and the resultant carnage deals with them.
It is a plight that we must very well understand. Rivers are unforgiving and while we might forget them, we can be sure that someday they will remind us that they exist. After all it was not the rivers that chose to flow through the cities!