Water in the Basement

One early morning a few weeks ago, I was sitting in my usual spot at 5:30 AM, snuggled up on the chair in the corner surrounded by my books. Just as I was settling in,  I heard the sound of running water.

I left my little sanctuary and went to the kitchen. We filter our drinking water in a Brita pitcher and I often put it under the tap but then forget about it. But I hadn’t forgotten to turn the water off. This time.

I returned to my chair and looked out the window at a wet driveway.  The weather had been a few unseasonably warm the past few days with some rain mixed in. It had undoubtedly rained again last night.

Once again, as I looked for the silence to surround me, I could hear the low murmuration of running water. Once again I left my comfy chair in search of running water. This time I went into the basement.

Of course today when I went to take a picture of the little stream in our basement, it was only a drip,

but that morning, it had been a steady stream pouring out of the pipe and into the gravel.

It bothered me.

I went upstairs to try to finish my morning reading and that laughing water was like Poe’s Tell Tale Heart. It seemed to get louder and louder until it was the only thing I could hear.

I could picture all sorts of water-related disasters. As soon as it was a reasonable time I called the contractor we use for work on the house.

When he came over, I showed him the basement stream. He shone his flashlight all around the basement, at the walls, at the stream, on the dirt floor, and back again at the corner where the water was pouring in. “This really isn’t in my wheelhouse,” he said. “I’ll send my plumber over.”

When the plumber came, he looked all around the basement too. “This is an old house,” he said, “and the water is going somewhere. You could do this, or this, or this,” and he laid out a few options that may or may not fix the problem, “but to be honest with you, I’d just leave it.”

“But I can hear it,” I insisted.

“It’s okay. The water is going somewhere. It’s not filling your basement,” he said. He mentioned again the other options, emphasizing their pros and cons, adding, “If it was my house, I wouldn’t do anything.”

I opted to do nothing.

And I sat there for the next several mornings, listening to the gurgle one floor beneath me.

Morning after morning, I murmured my prayers while the water murmured below.

It became part of the background music of early morning.

Then, it just disappeared. I can’t even tell you when.

But I’m sure it will be back, with the next thaw and/or heavy rain.

When it returns, I won’t panic. I’ll just listen.


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