We aren’t the only creatures longing for water. The golden hills are dry as tinder and crackle under the feet of the herd as they are moved toward a water source. A water truck makes its way painstakingly up the hill to replenish troughs which sizzle in the unfamiliar heat. There is a now long-ago memory of lush green hills with cattle grazing contentedly and gazing up now and then to contemplate a high flying hawk.
Moonlight glistening on the quiet water
as I slide noiselessly into its
dark protective environs.
Our headlamps look like
a busy nighttime L.A. freeway.
Everybody going somewhere.
A slender tether keeps me from
drifting off into the Pacific Ocean.
No reef, just open sea another 3,000 ft. down.
Familiar anemones and unpretentious sea cucumbers
have deserted me here with
glittering blue fins whispering quickly past.
A moving galactic sprawl with
Jellies waving their arms to attract the
pelagic horde throbbing like my beating heart.
Do they mind that we have invaded their space?
We don’t belong in this world.
How do you avoid feeling that you are bait on a line?
In this dark and secret place
the largest animal migration on the planet, yet
freeway traffic continues unaware.
I am hauled up like a fish.
The boat is alive with quiet reverence.
And Pink Floyd playing “The Dark Side of the Moon”.
I’m warning you first off that this is not an optimistic post. I thought I could get some form of humor out of it, but it just ain’t funny.
People in California are praying for rain, even when they’re agnostics. I’m sure you have heard the saying that there are no atheists in foxholes? Well it’s the same in a drought. Parched, we all turn pious.
We diligently watch the weather reports, which tell us that tomorrow will be in the 80’s or possibly in the 90’s, with the possibility of triple digit temperatures inland. The weather maps float around in brilliant hues showing all the colors of the warm palette; yellow, orange, and finally slipping into red. Under blazing skies wildfires continue to ravage dry forest land, and threaten hillsides barren of anything but scrub grass. A wildfire doesn’t discriminate; as long as it is burnable, it’s fair game. And speaking of game, the little animals who seek shelter from the unrelenting sunshine, are driven further afield and away from the crackling inferno. But to where?
We are put on water-saving alert, and may only water our gardens once a week. For those of us with large areas to hydrate, it presents a problem. We recycle everything, using grey water to pour on the garden plants. After using every possible way to save water, I was surprised and incensed to receive a notice from the water company that our usage was higher than any comparable property in our neighborhood. My normal reaction was; “what do they want from me?”
Neighbor watches neighbor to see if their lawns are turning brown. Some towns have signs that state “Brown is the New Green”. We are threatened by a possible $500 fine or at least a monthly penalty. And yet the golf courses remain green. I’m not a golfer, so perhaps that isn’t a fair complaint.
Reading further down the notice from the water company, I found their record showed only one person living here! I haven’t decided which one of us is leaving.
This is a replay of the drought of thirty years ago. That lasted so long I bought another large plastic garbage bin to put beside the washer, and bucketed out the grey water. I’m not looking forward to it this time, but it does lend a certain degree of smugness when bragging about the number of water saving tricks you are using. In that drought, restaurants had cute little cards on each table reminding you to ask if you want water. Now when I ask for any, I make sure I sit there till I drink it all.
Spirits were lifted somewhat by the hope that another El Nino would send all the rain we needed in a month or so, but since that has been downgraded to 65%, don’t go betting all the benjamins on it. The reason seems to be the lack of the Equatorial Kelvin wave. Since I’m not a scientist, I don’t know if that’s a surfing type wave. My surfing friends and family may have to go somewhere other than California to practice their sport.
The coastal waves were building up a week or so ago and the surfers were clamoring to throw themselves into each wave. We’ve seen more sharks and whales coming closer to shore, being swept along by warmer water.
Remember that Joseph, after he got his coat of many colors, predicted seven years of drought (famine) before seven years of plenty. So far we have had only three years of this drought.
We spent last weekend in Seattle, which is noted for its rain, although having lived there, I think that’s something they tell Californians to keep them out of Washington. There was a delicious smell of ozone in the air one evening and a light sprinkle dampened the sidewalks and cleared off the dust of the day.
But what comes around, goes around, and this too will pass. But if El Nino ever comes, remember you wished for it. For the record, El Nino is not a storm, and “El Nino is Spanish for “the child”.
“People sometimes try to convince me that I am drowning.
If that’s true I can breathe underwater.
But I can’t just swim away like a mermaid.
And sometimes I do struggle,
But most of the time my eyes secure themselves
with a deadened glaze and rest in the dankness of my brain.
I know there is no life guard on duty, but if you want to
swim in the moonlight there usually isn’t.
If I go under, the water’s cool, cushiony embrace
Will envelop my tired body and lay me on the
Powdery sand to rest.”
POEM BY KATE NICKERSON, when in high school
With a nod to Percy Shelley:
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle—
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother:
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea—
What are all those kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?