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  • It's not as cold as I expected it to be, this winter of 2015/16.

    Perhaps I shouldn't be expecting too much. The weather here, as elsewhere, is changing.

    At least it is still cold. These pools, leftovers from the recent flooding, are thankfully free of flying biting insects.

    Such as the Aedes albopictus mosquito, several examples of which sank their proboscides into my skin last summer and which is now being touted as a possible vector for the current disease of global alarm, the Zika virus.

    Something else to worry about. As if there wasn't enough to begin with.
  • As I said, much of the water here is left over from the big flood. On January 1, 2016, the river reached its third highest level ever in St. Louis. Provisionally set at 42.58 feet. Flood stage is 30 feet.

    Chouteau Island is largely inundated at those levels. Even on Sunday, the lower lying roads remained closed. Blocked by river debris or holed or even washed away by the flood.

    This road was one of them. I could only access it from one direction and was held back from going the whole way. But at least it was largely clear.

    In the middle of a pond, I saw a half turned-over sofa. Where had that come from? A dump I hoped, but I could not rule out someone's home. Many of those were flooded too.
  • Nonetheless, in this cool and still place it was hard to see anything but beauty in the tangled vines and branches. When summer comes the area will transform into a vibrant green net.

    Laid over the land and pulsing with life.

    I'll be back then. And times before too. I like this place. I feel rooted, much as I often feel on the floodplain around St. Louis. Strange that land that is so often underwater should lay such a spell on me, but I think I empathize with the transience of these landscapes. Transience appeals to me, an immigrant who has not wholly removed his feet from his birthplace.
  • I drove up from the lower levels and onto the long levee that separates the island from the Chain of Rocks Canal, that artificial waterway that carries the Mississippi barge traffic past the rocky shallows of the main river channel.

    Far in the distance lay St. Louis city. Looking like a series of tiny teeth on the horizon. The levee path leading towards the city seemed impossibly long. As did the canal.

    Impossibly long and just right for me.
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