Monday, August 22, 2011

rain

or, the lack of it.

dried up black-eyed peas

It seems like an odd thing to complain about. Born and raised in Texas, it seems to me that rain is always something to complain about. Most of the time it's because we have not had enough, but every once in a while we have a couple of houses float away. It makes for good news, good conversation with strangers and acquaintances. As of this post, we are in a drought that has people comparing the weather to that of 50 years ago. The water line out at my in-law's lake house is a good 400 yard walk down into what used to be 30 feet deep in Medina Lake. Walking around out there in the scrappy, dusty lake bottom - it feels like something has ended. Dried up fish bones half-buried in the dry mud. Deer and other animal tracks lead to the ever receding water-line. Trees, boats, and other flotsam drowned from floods in the past are now exposed, tangled in fishing-line and boat anchors. Farmers cautiously sip the remaining water for irrigation. Fishermen gawk at how blue the water is. Boat owners tear their propellers off on boulders that haven't touched the air since the dam went up in 1913.

The first chapter in Arthur C. Clarke's masterpiece is titled: "The Road to Extinction", and begins like this: "The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended." That should get you thinking. Things are slowly changing all the time. Yesterday the Sahara was a vast rainforest, and much of Texas was a shallow sea. The rain will come back, and it will go away again. As for now though, if you live in Texas and want to see rain you need to go on vacation to see it.

Rain, the miracle/phenomenon that it is, happens only on our planet in this solar system (in H2O form that is). Water is the solution in which life's chemical reactions proceed. Let us be reminded that we are a dirty little water droplet floating in an otherwise desiccated universe. A small speck where you can find vast oceans, great forests, big cities, frozen peaks, whales, birds, bugs, and people who like to talk about the weather.

bird bath

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