Honestly. We can really only manage one plague at a time. Which is why, during month after month after month of lockdown, we tried to ignore that it was also month after month after month without rain. That drought that supposedly ended a few years ago? Head fake. It just hit the pause button. And now it is back with a vengeance.
California is such a lovely place. Just last night, Monet stopped by to paint the sky:
But it is also so, so dry. You think the vaccine was a painful jab? How about having your water rates double?
Governor Newsom has now asked us to voluntarily lower our water usage by fifteen per cent. I suspect the “voluntary” part is temporary. And fifteen per cent doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you consider that we already dropped our usage by 40% over the past few years.
When Daniel, newly re-transplanted to So Cal, was visiting at Christmas, he helped clean up the kitchen one night. In a moment now etched permanently in my memory, he turned the kitchen faucet on full blast. And then walked away to do another chore. I was momentarily speechless, and who knows how much money went down the drain in the time it took me to recover. Poor Daniel. He had come from New York, a place where people actually leave the water running while they brush their teeth.
Yesterday, I listened, rapt, while a neighbor recounted her recent trip back East, where she experienced a thunderstorm. Can you even imagine? I hung on to her every word and longingly summoned up the word – petrichor – for that delicious smell that lingers after a rainfall. I felt almost hungry for it – a delicacy so long denied.
Governor Newsom can probably skip over to The French Laundry to borrow a cup of water whenever he likes. For us mere mortals, the options are more fraught. I hope this is dry enough for him:
Good thing we got some plums in already. And, ready or not, I harvested the peaches since the crows were going after them anyway.
Tomatoes came off the vine this morning. Dare I keep tending the green ones?
Sadly, we’ll have to pull the plug on the Asian Lilies that have brightened things up this summer.
And no more water to spare for the Alstroemeria.
But I am absolutely determined to see these potato vines through, darn it. Potato envy doesn’t die easily.
And the one thing that is absolutely non-negotiable is the bird bath. Bears are roaming the canyons and coyotes slipping through the brush. Hawks lurking closer and closer – one killed a rabbit in our yard the other day! All God’s creatures are hungry and thirsty, so we must do what what we can.
Since we can’t realistically even begin to expect rain until late fall, we have a very long dry spell ahead. If worse comes to worse, the sweet little ground birds can have my share of water. I’ll just have to drink champagne…