It is hard to look at the photos that are coming out of Austin and Bastrop and read the stories of those who are fighting those fires in Texas and of many who are losing their lives, their livelihood and all that they love. I lived in Austin for many years and traveled the roads around Bastrop and Smithville as a hospice chaplain. It is breathtakingly beautiful country. I cannot even begin to imagine how many lives this disaster is touching and will touch. What we have here in Chiangmai right now is a little too much of a good thing. It is still the rainy season and, last night, it rained all night long. The river rose steadily today and, at 5:00 PM, I went out to pick up some things at the store and had the chance to see the rising waters up close. I parked my car at the other end of this bridge and walked across. The water is moving swiftly, filled with debris, and reddish-brown from all the silt that is being swept downstream.
After taking that photo, I walked back across the bridge to my car. I shot this photo from the center of the bridge, looking upriver toward some familiar landmarks. The Old First Church is the building with the steeple on the far right. Nawarat Bridge is the main bridge in town, connecting the railway station which is off to the right with the center of town which is off to the left. At this point, the flood waters were less than a meter from spilling over the river bank. The waters continued to rise for three more hours, but the monitoring website now says that the river level is dropping. As you can see, there are still rain clouds. The forecasters say there is a 70% probability of rain every day this week. We may yet see some serious flooding in town. How I wish I could send some of this rain to Texas!