WATER IS A POWERFUL thing. As I write this, there are images filtering through social media showing people’s roofs that look like pyramids jutting from the waters of the Arkansas River. The Big Dam Bridge has closed, Two Rivers as well. Friends on Facebook are looking for sandbags. On the afternoon before we went to press, the governor called it “a flood of historic magnitude.”
There’s a quote that’s been making the rounds of late, one attributed to Mark Twain, about the audacity of man’s folly in thinking that he might be able to harness the power of the Mississippi. Granted, the Arkansas is not the Mississippi (which is an odd sentence to write), but in a state like ours, where most every lake you can rattle off was artificially made—a river was dammed, the waters rose, the hilltops became islands—this rings especially clear.
Of course, there are reasons to love it, the water, when it’s not threatening to knock on our door—or more literally, to come pouring over the threshold. As anyone who lives around here can surely tell you, being out, near, on or adjacent to water—no matter its shape, form or volume—is transportive. It recalls moments both recent and distant, connects us in ways that we’re not always aware of to our history, to our loved ones. (On a personal level, water also provides life lessons—like, say, the importance of sunscreen on a two-hour kayak trip through Florida backwaters.)
Much in the same way that water’s far more than just a shifting plane to go skimming across, the watercraft we use are much more than a means of transport. As our associate editor, Wyndham Wyeth, and photographer, Arshia Khan, saw while documenting the boat-making process at Little Rock Boat Builder Supply—one that you can also partake in, for the record—boats of every stripe provide not only the surface utility, but connections, lessons and memories as well.
But again—and given the circumstances, I think it bears repeating—water is a powerful thing. In the coming weeks, as the floodwaters from the Arkansas River follow their course, we hope you and your families stay dry, and stay safe.