We are Nashville, I am Nashville
Many of you know that I grew up in the Oak Hill area of Nashville, TN and absolutely love it that I am living here again. I have remained silent on the Nashville flood so far – I have only commented about it on my facebook page and through my twitter account. The reason for this is that I have been very saddened by the flooding of Nashville and it has taken me awhile to be able to talk about it.
Saturday, May 1, 2010 I drove down to Spring Hill to meet with some new music students – (my other career). I had been called by one of the people I was going to meet with and was told to be careful driving because of the tornado warnings. I remember actually saying to them “eh, what’s a little rain – I can make it!”
I have since eaten my words. Although I made it to Spring Hill, it quickly became evident that this storm was more furious than the average Middle Tennessee storm.
I decided to leave Spring Hill earlier than planned due to the weather. The first road that I tried was flooded with water. I thought my Subaru Outback could make it through. So I started slowing driving through the water, which was about half of my wheel deep. Everything was going fine, then the bottom of the road seemed to drop out. All of a sudden the water was up to my gas tank. I was terrified. I threw the car into reverse and backed all the way out of the water. I made it, but then the brakes were temporarily not working. I decided then to try and head out in the opposite direction. I did eventually make it home after three hours (normal commute time is 45 minutes) and traversing lots of water. I knew then that we were really in for a bad time.
On Sunday, the rain continued. My roof was starting to leak. I addressed that issue and continued watching the news. Around noon after an email from a friend of mine talking about her basement starting to flood, I decided to check my crawl space. And wow, am I glad that I did! The water had completely filled up my crawl space and was threatening to come into my house. I hit the panic button and grabbed some buckets. My boyfriend Ben started helping me bail it out. For some reason the sump pump was not working. Ben suggested that we try and figure out why the sump pump wasn’t working so we eventually found that the perforated drainage pipes were stuck in some mud and weren’t allowing water to come out of the crawl space.
We quickly got to work straightening out those pipes and also started digging some new trenches to re-route the water. While Oak Hill is a great area to live in, the drainage system is old and the ditches have somewhat eroded since being put in 70+ years ago. We also found that some overgrown bushes were keeping the water from being able to pass through, so we got out tools and cut back the bushes. We did all of this while the rain was pouring down.
Once we had the sump pump up and running again, we went back inside. It was very eerie to think that only 6 inches under my feet in my crawl space was a pool of water. I spent most of the rest of the day praying that the electricity would stay on so that the sump pump could continue to work and then I continuously checked the water levels to make sure that I didn’t need to also be bailing. The water in the crawl space continued to pump out, but the water level stayed the same due to the amount of rain we were getting and the complete saturation of the ground.
Gratefully the rain FINALLY stopped and Ben and I went out to survey the damage. My yard looked like a detention pond and our neighborhood was completely running over with water everywhere.
I did go out to view the rest of the city on Monday and, after seeing the damage, I sat down and cried. I love my city so much – was born and raised here – and it was very painful to see the blow we took from Mother Nature.
We are finally to the point where we are almost back to full water capacity and we are slowly cleaning up our city. Hands on Nashville has done an amazing job of rallying folks to assist with organized cleanup. The Red Cross immediately had shelters set up (I’m a Red Cross volunteer and did some shelter operations work). The citizens of our great city have really shown themselves to be a community that pulls together when it’s in trouble.
Most of Nashville has felt disappointed about how the media has largely ignored our situation. We like to think of ourselves as an important city. After all, if you are a person who turns on your radio and plays any country, bluegrass, Christian and even some rock-n-roll music, then you have been touched by our city. But, despite the blind-eye that the media turned to us, we did not close our eyes to our own situation. Our volunteer spirit led us to extend our hands, hearts and homes to others who were suffering (and we still are!). Many people risked their own lives to save the lives of others.
Nashville is slowly recovering. From what I have heard there has been over $3 million donated to help with the flood relief and that was just from two benefit concerts. Other individuals and companies have taken on the task of donating and fund raising privately. I am so proud of Nashville and Middle Tennessee for how it has pulled together and taken care of its own. I love you, Nashville community!
We are Nashville, I am Nashville.
If you would like to see more of my Nashville flood pictures, please visit my facebook page…