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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Drought

       
    My neighbor stood on the front porch. The obligatory cigarette dangling from her lips as she sprayed her front lawn with a water hose. On my way to the mailbox, she said, “Good afternoon, Pam.”
            “Good afternoon, Sarah. Did you know it rained for about 30 seconds a few hours ago?”
            She took the cigarette from her lips and looked around the cul-de-sac. “Can’t tell.”
            “Yeah. No one can.”
            I put up my Christmas lights after Thanksgiving. It sprinkled tiny drops on me then. Yesterday, I took down my lights—six weeks in between and not a drop of rain. Today, moisture came down so light it wasn’t measurable.
Meanwhile, the Eastern States flood and freeze.
            I lived in the Bay Area during the worse and longest droughts—1986 through 1991. Hot, dry, and miserable, the Bay-ites put bricks in the tanks and didn’t flush for number one not even in restaurants. We skipped showers, watched our yards turn to dust, and drove cars that all looked earth-toned. Hot. Dry. Miserable.
            The bonus round for the lack of water was Santa Ana winds, forest fires, and then the Quake of ’89. “Memories may be beautiful but yet…”
Finally, the rains came—hard and fast. On vacation, Paul and I walked hand in hand as the banks of Napa River overflowed into the streets and soaked our feet on the sidewalk. Redwoods fell over in Sausalito, the roots no longer secure as years of drought separated them from the soil. Earthquake shaken dirt turned to mud and erased banks in South San Francisco, Big Sur and SoCal.
Postcards for the tourist trade depicted the four seasons of California: drought, fire, flood, and mud slides.

Well, “Tighten your seat belts. We are in for a bumpy ride.” I am so glad I have chosen this moment in time to live a place whose summers are on average twenty degrees warmer than where I lived in 1987 through 1991. Sarcasm? Oh yay.   http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/