June 20th, 2008
07:03 PM ET

How to beat nature at its own game

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/20/art.clarksvilleflood.jpg caption="Volunteers work to protect a home from the rising flood waters of the Mississippi River Thursday, June 19 in Clarksville, Mo."]
Karin Matz
CNN Producer

In Clarksville, Missouri, this morning, I watched the water slowly creep up on the edge of town. Then it withdraw a little.

People here aren't out of danger though, and they know it. The sandbagging didn't stop. The river may crest soon.

One man told us, he can sigh with relief... for now.

Some may say it's the risk you take living by the river. It's beautiful and fertile. But every so often, the river explodes, and there are consequences. Maybe she wants to test humanity.

What we've seen here is that despite the river's fury, humanity can win.

Not physically. I'm not sure levees will ever be perfect. I'm not sure man can really beat nature. But in a spiritual sense, humanity can triumph.

What's most amazing is the resiliance and determination of people here. I saw friends and strangers helping one another, giving up their time to save communities. The sense of pride and the spirit of humanity just as big as the flood itself.

I'm on my way home now, miles away from the flood zone. What I've seen here is that nature can always dominate a while, but people win, with compassion and humility.

And I am humbled.

Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. michelle: Ont,Canada

    The truest form of humanity comes in the forefront when people are hurting and coping as one whole community . Why does it allways take natural disasters and catrophes to bring poeple together,even perfect strangers who volunteer to help make sandbags and do whatever they can to help.This what happens when everyone cares!

    June 23, 2008 at 9:38 am |
  2. Edi

    Humans cannot control nature but we can pay attention to the patterns of the rivers, know where they will flood and be warned! Years like this the reach is much more extensive and we have to step up and help. We've learned the government won't do it. We have to help each other!

    June 23, 2008 at 12:51 am |
  3. Diana

    This and other disasters is why we need bottled water. I find it crazy that it is o.k. if plastic is used for coke, beer gator-aid and other things, but the water, which is the most important is being picked on. I myself have been through a hurricane in the Florida Keys, it was the big jugs of Deer Park Spring water that saved us. When the power and water does not work and no help can get to you you realize water is the first thing you need. By the way not all bottled water is tap water-most water is SPRING water. If Tap was so good take a glass full out of your toilet it's all the same from the municipale supply. Yes we hope our supplies are safe but it travels through many pipes to get to your home not to mention old infrastructer puts us at risk at well. The best use for water is drinking-I want mine from a clean sealed bottle or glass bottle if it helps but do not deny people the choice.

    June 22, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  4. Stan (Austin, Texas)

    Mother Nature always wins in the end (so if you can’t beat them...join them)!
    Why don’t we work with Mother Nature and build our homes and business outside these flood hazard areas. Let's utilized the floodplain for what Mother Nature has designed them for (conveyance of flood water). Furthermore, let's limit our use of the flood hazard areas to agriculture, recreation, transportation, and commerce.

    June 21, 2008 at 10:50 am |
  5. Gert-Jan Centen

    I must agree with Harry de Ruiter (not only because I'm dutch).
    We need to stop fighting mother nature. In the "old world" we've learned our lessons a long time ago. Sure we still make minor misstakes sometimes, but come on, trying to hold back the Mississippi river!

    The engineers show in the program earlier are right. Give the river space to expand when a high volume of water needs to be handled. Build gates into some levees and allow the land behind these levees to be flooded whenever the river needs this space. Just use this land for agriculture or leave it unused...

    Deventer The Netherlands (Currently in Los Angeles California)

    June 21, 2008 at 1:22 am |
  6. Harry de Ruiter

    Why doesn't the American government get some advise from the Dutch. They have mastered dealing with water. One third of their country is below sea level. Don't you think the Dutch know by now how to deal with the danger of water?

    June 20, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    It is inspiring to see how people will work together and help each other in a situation like this. It would be great if we could all learn to work together like that every day – we'd get a lot of problems solved and regain a sense of community again. Lillibeth is right -no man is an island – but anymore we sure act like we are.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 20, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  8. Lilibeth

    Time and time again, I am amazed by what people can do together. There are angels that show up in the most terrible of times. Truly, no man is an island…we all need each other.

    June 20, 2008 at 7:23 pm |