Intersections Named Flood

By: pbcmedia

Jun 15 2008

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: 1, change, Culture, Death, Events, Health, Life, Personal, Photography, Random, The Single Life, writing


Focal Length:23.2mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon PowerShot SD850 IS

Media death came this week. TV Journalist, Tim Russert. His sudden death at 58 years old (heart attack) became a televised Irish wake in our living rooms with the body in the parlor. Yes, I remember those days and this is why a media death (someone I’ve never met and know only on TV) became a personal loss, dredging heart’s unsettling memories.

Also this week, floods. Big, historic waters came to the heartland of the US and deaths more private, less discussed, but marked with the same pain and shock came as well to all corners of the world: deaths from bullet wounds, disease, improvised explosive devices, car accidents, drownings, suspicious fires, suicide bombers, loneliness and deaths by someone’s own despairing hand.

In those moments when we get the call, listen to the words, stand by the side of the road or the edge of the drowning pool, or read the note left behind to explain the despair, we shrink in size, our instinct, our animal impulse is to flee, to disappear, to blur into the background.

But, we don’t move. Our feet shoot like arrows into the dark earth. We think we are anchored but we are not. We hold on to the phone, to the ground we stand on, to the river’s edge, to the suicide note with death’s grip itself, and we close our eyes tight shut to the oncoming churning waters. We begin to roll, tumble, end over end, reaching out to hold on to something.



Finding nothing. Finding no one. We force our eyes open under the crushing flood waters.

We look for shore and failing that, we simply begin.

To swim.

©Pat Coakley 2008


15 comments on “Intersections Named Flood”

  1. Rolling with the tide is unavoidable. It’s whether we choose to swim or not.

    Excellent post. Though I have an ignorant confession to make . . .

    I’m trying to figure out your picture. Are those candles melting? I’ve looked at it for some time and I just can’t make it out this morning.

    But maybe that’s a good thing. And I’m ok with that . . .

    On second thought . . . don’t tell me . . . I need to swim for a bit . . .

  2. Thanks, Tysdaddy. How about a hint? Look at first part of title. Swim on.

  3. Wow, sorry I know I say it a lot but its the easiest way of expressing intense amazement, awe and incredibleness and this post of yours has it all. So intense in its reality and truth of the emotions that go hand in hand with those situations. Swim on indeed, we are forever swimming towards unforeseen shores, ones we hope are not only in our dreams but closer than the minds eye can see. Thanks for this, needed it today. A

  4. PS Love what you’ve done with the picture, before reading the post it told its own story, afterwards an even bigger one. A silent plea for a pause, a red light, stop. Incredible, really and truly, incredible!

  5. Thanks, Sanity. I mean it. “A silent plea for a pause, a red light, stop.” Wows to you for seeing this and being able to say it so beautifully.

  6. Thanks you, sorry had to come back to stare at the art up top again. It’s one of those images that the minute you look at it, it just jumps out and hits you between the eyes. For me that is the difference between incredibly brilliant and nice.

  7. Charles Baudelaire once said, “Any newspaper, from the first line to the last, is nothing but a web of horrors, I cannot understand how an innocent hand can touch a newspaper without convulsing in disgust”.

    I find it ironic that your image taken in wet conditions looks to me like a cityscape on fire.

  8. Razz, what would Baudelaire say about hands that “click” but do not “touch” a newspaper? I’m 100% on-line reader now. Interesting.. your take on px. Cityscape on fire. Yes.

  9. I have now looked at this picture about twenty times, often just gazing and soaking it in. I’ve sat my laptop on the table and scanned it from a distance. I’ve changed the lighting at let it pull in and out of focus.

    What stands out is the shadow. Me, gazing at the incomprehensible.

    I still don’t “see” it, but I’m still ok with that . . . the power lies in the mystery. And not all mysteries need to be solved. Life isn’t all CSI . . .

  10. Good post.
    I actually prefer to look at this photo as abstract and not try to interpolate. It’s very powerful that way. For me, the violence is almost palpable.

    Good words as well. At those times, there is work to be done. Better to knuckle down and get it done. There will be time to drink and cry later.

    Turkish Prawn

  11. “what would Baudelaire say about hands that “click” but do not “touch” a newspaper?”

    My wife reads the paper on-line every day and she says the most disturbing thing is the stats that the paper shows. Apparently the subject matter of the most read articles tend be either, sex, sport, celebrity or even better yet, all of them together.

    It sure does say a lot about the society we live in.

  12. Great post as usual.

  13. Tysdaddy, Turkish, I got a call from a friend of mine who lives in Pennyslvania and she starts with, “Ok, am I supposed to see something in this picture?” I laughed as this is not a new question from her. And, yes, there is work to done at these times and I suspect that’s how people get through the first few weeks, it’s those that come after…

    Razz, no newspapers for you?? How do you get the news? TV? I know from reading your blog, that you actually should be making the news on a regular basis with some of your travels, but I’m just curious.

    Planetross, everytime I hear that something has happened in Tokyo,e.g. the recent shooting in the tech market, I think, “Oh, no, I hope planetross wasn’t there!”

  14. “Razz, no newspapers for you?? How do you get the news? TV?”

    I get the newspaper nearly every day to do the sodoku and crosswords. I also watch the news on SBS (it’s a bit like your PBS but it’s more focused on international news).

    I quoted Baudelaire because I feel the nature of most news is just horrifying. It’s a pity that the public has such an appetite for gruesome news. I’d like to see the focus on achievement (other than sport), successes, science, art and in depth analysis of geopolitics.

  15. Stunning, girlfriend. Stunning.

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