The River Through The Trees

April showers, they say. It had not stopped raining since December. It might slack off  some, drop to a drizzle, but then it would start back up stronger than ever. The ground was all thick mud where it wasn’t standing water, the trees bending with the weight of their swollen branches.  I figured Pa was all right over in Vicksburg, though how he’d ever cross back over a mile-wide river I didn’t know. Probably get a boat somewhere.

I stood inside the barn, patching up the old skiff. Better safe than sorry. I could see the river through the trees.


Friday Fictioneers

On April 22, 1927, the Great Flood overran Greenville, Mississippi. Downtown Greenville was covered in ten feet of water. For 60 miles to the east and 90 miles to the south of the Mounds Landing break, the Delta became a turbulent, churning inland sea, leaving tens of thousands of people stranded on rooftops and clinging to trees. It was the worst natural disaster in American history. 



Add Yours
  1. Iain Kelly

    Interesting slice of history – not something I heard of before, which is surprising given the scale of the disaster. Must look out for the Faulkner novel. Great character voice as always.

  2. michael1148humphris

    The deadfall power of flood water – That old skiff had better be strong. Loved the voice and seeing a glimpse into history.

  3. Lynn Love

    The devastation is unimaginable. Love how you introduce us to the flood just before the worst is about to happen … Wonder if Pa makes it out okay. Lovely snatch of history and told in such a pitch perfect voice

  4. Alicia Jamtaas

    The ground was all thick mud where it wasn’t standing water, the trees bending with the weight of their swollen branches. This line says so much. Interesting peek into history. Thank you.

  5. Rowena

    Very well done and I could also hear the voice. I also like how you’ve tied in the historical aspects. I’m a history addict and I always feel that history adds so much depth to a story. I photographed a river in Launceston while we were in Tasmania recently and I loved the surge in power as the water cascaded over the rocks. I remember my husband who is Tasmanian, saying how it gets ugly but it wasn’t til I got home that i read about its brutal force and it’s regulars floods. Then I spotted a very interesting detail about how women used to do their washing in the rapids in the early days back in the 1830s and I thought about my husband’s ancestors doing that and I suddenly felt such a bond both with them and the place. History does that.
    xx Rowena

    • J Hardy Carroll

      Stories have the ability to put us into these other places and times. I am a proponent of showing a person in context and letting the reader feel the effects of the situation as much as possible. In this story, the creeping dread of the rain is coupled with a boy trying to be a man despite his worry and fear. The historical background footnote was intended to show his peril, though in a longer piece there would be much better ways to accomplish that. Thanks for reading, and for the thoughtful comments.

Don't just stand there.