If the Flood of 1993 had never happened, I would choose to live on the American Bottom, that vast floodplain of the Mississippi that stretches for a hundred miles from Alton to Chester, Illinois. During August 1993 a once-in-a-century flood broke a levee on the bottoms a few miles south of St. Louis, stripped the corn crop from the soil, sped south, and ponded against the levee at Prairie du Rocher Creek.
By October, after the flood had receded, water still pooled out front of the cypress grove, Herbert Mueller planted in a spot he could not dry out. In January Moredock Lake froze. At Stringtown broken corn stalks measured the height of the lagoon just north of the Prairie du Rocher levee. In May Virgil Gummersheimer's ruined corn pointed the direction the floodwaters took and sand covered his field.