CA FieldsThe drought in California is in its fourth year. I would have given up long ago and found a river to pitch a tent, in some wet place. My soul would be as parched as the land, and more than ever, I would crave the sustenance water gives.

It hasn’t rained here since mid-July. Our magnificent maples and oaks are already showing signs of stress and shedding yellowed leaves. Perennials in the garden have toppled over- the turgidity in their leaves spent. A walk in the woods is loud with crushing crispy leaves.

The plants in the yard demand attention like triaged patients. The sprinkler brings relief, and the birds and bees take advantage of this unexpected windfall.  Their thirst is too much for me to quench. They seem to distinguish between faucet water and rain from above. Water from a hose staves off death, but water from above brings nourishment in ways I can’t see.

I’ve searched the ten day forecast for weeks, seeking the promise of rain, but to no avail. I’ve used more than my fair share of water to keep everything alive.

While watering the vegetable garden yesterday, I thought of shutting off the spigot, and letting nature take its course.

I’m a plants person.This is my love and passion. Our yard is densely planted with common things and specimens. I love them all. I appreciate their beauty and the habitat they provide for the birds. It’s a struggle to keep it all going. Looking out over the yard, there is too much brown. The dogs kick up a cloud of dust while they play.

Water is a finite resource. Because its cheap, sometimes even free, I thought we’d always have as much as we needed. In the northeast, we’re accustomed to dry summers, and we count on the rain returning in the fall. but what if it didn’t? What if we were four years into a drought and the rain never came?

When forced to be frugal, what creative methods would we dream up to save and store rainwater?  What tips would we pass along for radically cutting our usage? I hope new technologies are being considered.

My challenge is, I love these plants like children, and I need water, but it has become a luxury that may be unjustifiable.



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One Response to Water

  1. marijamiko says:

    I was in Cali and Oregon this summer and was able to see the drought firsthand. I was very frustrated by the lack of systemic response to this crisis. I think every building should be harvesting rainwater and using permaculture techniques to slow the passage of water through a property (in contrast to the typical approach of sending water to drain away as soon as possible.) I came home determined to do better here in Greenwich even though the effects of the drought are not as severe because of the protection of the trees. Too bad people cut down trees so thoughtlessly, since some of them have been growing for hundreds of years. Your post is beautiful and I hope it inspires many to begin conserving water.

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