Three years ago this weekend I was glued to the TV. I had one eye on the Cumberland, which was rising, causing the Gaylord Opryland hotel to be evacuated. It later flooded. I watched the televised reports, wondering if I should evacuate my house. I packed a bag of essentials. Ultimately, I didn’t leave, but ended up trying to help those who had to.
This week’s rains—nowhere near 2010 levels, but still high and resulting in flooding in some areas—got me thinking again about Middle Tennessee’s rivers. Flood management isn’t a once-and-done solution. It is an ongoing process, balancing development and growth with new sustainable practices, conservation and common sense. One of the reasons that we donate a portion of all our proceeds (not just profits, but all proceeds) to the Cumberland River Compact is to make sure that these important conversations continue.
While May 2010 was a tough month, it was also uplifting. It helped me see how Nashvillians band together and work together when they need to. It helped me feel connected to my adopted home and it helped me clarify the kinds of philanthropic work I wanted to do. I hope that Nashville Paddle Co. can play a small part in helping to address water issues in the future.