Water slogged down from on high, besotting everything in the world below. Volumes poured from above, entire lakes fell down from the firmament as Heaven was draining its crystal pools. And in the midst of the onslaught of the storm, as the earth gorged itself on water, I stood on the bank of Stone Creek taking it all in. Flood waters filled the roads, and Stone Creek itself was but a foot's length away from the bridge to my apartment.
Rivers of water in the street on a hill.
I almost did not complete my return journey from work that afternoon as I faced what seemed insurmountable blockades of water surging through the streets. Worried for my new car that I had just bought, and not wanting to surrender it to this surreal enemy, I drove home with all senses on high alert. On the final leg of this journey, as I was passing Stone Creek to return to my apartment, what seemed to be an entire section of a creek was washing across the road to fill the swelling Stone Creek. I barely noticed this road river in time and managed to clock my speed and plow through the water while maintaining control. After parking my car on an incline, I decided to investigate the scenic Stone Creek up close on foot.
As I watched this ballet of wind and water elementals I thought quietly to myself—actually I had to scream-think it because of the noise of the maelstrom –"Boy, was this Iowa boy ever ignorant. How could I ever have thought that this place was a desert?"
Well, maybe it normally is a desert. I don't know, but it's not this summer. The land of the Chickasaw Nation has a memorable way of greeting its newcomers. And if even the weather is this exciting, I can't see how this summer will ever get boring.
Benjamin Brown is a 2015 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Plant Science who grew up on a farm in Story City, Iowa. He is currently studying agricultural biochemistry at Iowa State University, where his primary focus is studying and engineering plant proteins that defend against pathogens. His summer project involves creating a yeast two-hybrid library to determine protein interactions in root hairs.