A great and terrible beauty

I love topography.  I spend more time than I’d like to admit on Google Earth, gazing down at the patterns of the earth.  Many of these patterns are created by water, and so all of my topography prints have some reference to water.

I also live in the Midwest — specifically the Ohio River valley.  We have had record rain this year, but each spring brings back the reminder that we live in a watershed.  It has been heartbreaking to listen to the news coverage of the river flooding that is occurring along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.  Rivers are a vital part of our landscape, providing transportation, fertile fields and recreation.  We are not, however, the master of water.  The levees and flood walls we build don’t just make the water go away, they push the water somewhere else.  To someone else.

Elizabeth Busey, Remembering and Forgetting.   Linoleum Reduction Print, 2010.

 This is a print I did earlier this year about just this subject.  Lake Monroe was created in the 1960s to provide flood control for much of southern Indiana.  The river valleys would funnel the rushing water down the hollows and creeks on their way to the White, Wabash and Ohio rivers.  Today, the lake is an area of tremendous beauty as well as a great place to boat or fish.  What many people do not realize is that there was a cost associated with this lake.  The town of Elkinsville was completely dismantled because of the new lake’s flood plain.  Other small communities were adversely affected as well.   Treasured land was lost.

We pay a price for our attempts to control the water on our Earth.  To the farmers and rural folks in places like Missouri, Louisiana and Mississippi, those of us upstream are thinking about you.


One Reply to “A great and terrible beauty”

  1. We have a reservoir here in western Massachusetts that claimed three towns when it was created. The reservoir was not built for flood control, but to provide water for residents of the city of Boston. Human beings are amazing. Nice print.

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