Change of Perspective

Musings on Writing, Reading, and Life Narratives

Fiction writers and literary critics speak of point of view. Social scientists are more likely to discuss perspective. But both of these terms refer to essentially the same construct: the consciousness behind the perception and narration of experience. Each individual’s point of view is unique, and point of view shapes the stories people tell to themselves and to others about themselves and their relationships with their environment. The same event narrated from two different perspectives will produce two different stories.

A change of perspective can expand our perception and reframe our thinking about our experiences. We can all benefit from an occasional change of perspective.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Photo of the Day: Flooding in Missouri

Missouri FloodThis was the scene yesterday (Friday, March 21, 2008) near Valley Park in St. Louis County, Missouri, where MO Hwy 141 intersects with Interstate 44. The photo was taken looking south down 141. The vehicles on the overpass are on I 44, which was reduced to one lane heading west. The Missouri Dept. of Transportation (MoDOT) placed concrete barriers and sandbags (which would be just off this photo to the right) along the northern edge of I 44 west to try to keep the rising water from the Meramec River off the road.

The water you see here is not the river itself; that's about a half mile north of the vantage point of this photo. There's a levee protecting the downtown area of Valley Park along the northern edge of the Meramec. This water is from farther west, where there is no levee.

When this photo was taken, the river was at about 34 feet. Flood stage in Valley Park is 16 feet. The Meramec is expected to crest at about 39 feet in Valley Park this afternoon. The previous high-water mark in Valley Park is 39.7 feet, which occurred in December 1982. The new levee was built to help prevent massive flooding such as occurred here in 1982.

Yesterday the temperature here was 72 degrees. Since the public schools were on spring break, there were a lot of kids in the crowd that came to flood watch. Many of the younger kids were more excited about getting to walk in the middle of the road than they were about viewing the power of Mother Nature.

You can see a lot more photos of the flooding here.

Update: Monday morning, March 24, 2008

As quickly as the flood waters rose, they have receded. This morning Hwy 141 was open in both directions. Overnight MoDOT crews used their snow plows to push the mud off the road. Over the next few nights they will remove the concrete barriers and sandbags from along I 44.

The Meramec River crested a little lower than expected. The water never did reach I 44. And Valley Park's new $49 million levee held. The towns further west, though--Eureka and Pacific--experienced bad flooding.

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