Drama on the Rogue ... live at 11

Nippy, wet and rising. That was the Rogue's 'tude last Sunday.

Mine, too.

Color me anxious as I paced steadily back and forth from cozy cottage to river's edge, eyes on the rapidly rising tide.

"It's supposed to crest this afternoon," my Sis had warned me in an early a.m. call.

"You should be OK," she added, by way of sibling comfort.

I know it's the thought that counts. But I wasn't too comforted. For I know exactly how long it takes the Rogue to rise from seawall to highway. It's way too fast to do more than grab your beloveds and head for higher ground.

In an effort to banish flashbacks of yesteryear's floods, and to test the maxim that worries shared are worries lessened, I decided to ease everyone's concerns by playing "Film at 11" with friends near and far.

My trusty little video phone and I trotted down to the edge of my property, and I exhaled into the cool air. Only time would tell if the river would remain within her banks. But I figured it couldn't hurt to have things recorded for posterity. And insurance purposes.

With one eye on the camera and one eye on the swirling water, I captured a snippet of the river's too-close-for-comfort elevation. Then panned to the cement boat launch and up the ramp to my little dingy. Back to the Rogue again, and a few shots of huge logs drifting by.

I even supplied a short voiceover in an effort to assure everyone I had everything under control. And, by everyone, I mean me.

"I'm going to wait to worry. That's my story and I'm sticking to it," fibbed the woman with the lengthening nose and highly flammable britches.

The truth is I was a useless puddle of indecision. Was it time to get the parrots' travel cages ready? Should I put a blanket in the moggy's carrier? Squiggy gets carsick, after all.

Or was this all much ado about some muddy water?

The mini-documentary debuted before my buddies. It was received with mixed reviews. But great good humor. Which was exactly what I needed.

They mocked my directorial efforts. They opined an ark was not in my immediate future, while enquiring after my swimming abilities.

"Glug, glug, glug."

I was urged to post more videos. I don't know what these gluttons for punishment were thinking, but I figured it was keeping me amused. And providing good practice for my job.

We Muddy Tributary scribes are facing less-than-gentle nudging from our editors regarding the need to embrace the visual side of the news media. In short, it's time to learn to make a video, or walk the plank.

It was shortly after noonish when I filmed the second video. The river had risen a bit. But so had my mood.

I taunted my long-suffering pals with fake remorse about missed shots of amazing flotsam and jetsam that had cruised past just seconds earlier. A flotilla of trees big enough to excite an old-growth logger were now in the downstream rapids. As was someone's Adirondack chair.

"Oh shoot! I just missed it," cooed this budding Fellini.

My pals channeled their inner Roger Ebert and gave this effort a decided thumbs down. A childhood friend further chastised me for failing to film the boat launch, which was their collective reference point for monitoring my imminent drowning.

"How about a reaction shot of the cat?" snarked another.

I replied I had better things to do than annoy my fuzzbutt or satisfy their morbid curiosity. Then made myself head to town to put in some supplies.

But not before calling my neighbor and requesting an SOS should the river rise a single inch and imperil my pets. (She agreed, while mourning the loss of her freshly planted roses and lilac bushes — now underwater.)

Upon my return, I was relieved to see the river had dropped about half a foot.

In the waning late afternoon light, I once more tapped the video button and wondered how I'd do if the result would be going up on the MT website — come hell or high water.

Pointing the camera at the boat launch, I calmly and professionally announced this would be the last in our Sunday riverwatch series. Relieved and grateful that me and mine were out of imminent peril, I decided to accept their directorial critique and dutifully captured the short span from the Rogue's swirling water to the lip of the boat ramp, before panning up to the little dingy.

"Heeeere's the dingy," I announced. Then simply couldn't resist sharing a little backstory info.

"I have to keep it turned upside down because somebody pooped in it once."

A chill just ran down Christiane Amanpour's spine.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or sspecht@mailtribune.com.


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