Posted by: Andrew Reynolds | 03/16/2014

Of Droughts and Kites

In my post, Two-Years, I listed a few things I like to do in the next two years.  Thought I’d bring you up to date on my progress. So now I boldly revisit the list I presented two months ago:

Find a new energy source for my writing:  Not done.  Still using the old generator which is why you’re still getting second-rate posts.

Do more marquetry work:  Fail. Haven’t cut one piece but I did change the blade on my marquetry knife and bought new scroll saw blades.

Sell a piece of my wood work:  Actually managed this.  Sold one of my crosses at a church auction.  At this rate I’ll sell three pieces more before the decade is out – four if I really start to focus on this.

Discover a way to retire early:  I have put some work into this, but so far moving into a cardboard box hasn’t been appealing.  Although a friend at the office thinks I could afford a small steel shipping container – all I need is a place to park it.  After all, he reasoned, I know how to pack one.

Improve my health:  I’ve been doing a lot of weight lifting lately (boxes, furniture) and haven’t felt the need to call an ambulance.  I guess that’s good.

Laugh more:  I do laugh from time to time. Not often and sometimes not out loud so it’s a bit hard to measure at this point. I think I smiled twice last week.

Fly a kite:  I haven’t bought one yet but did do a search on Amazon once and was overwhelmed by the choices. I did suggest to one of my co-workers that he go fly a kite, but suspect that he misinterpreted my real underlying friendly meaning.  Perhaps if I hadn’t been gritting my teeth at the time…

Stomp in more puddles: Well, I wanted to, but now I’ll have to settle for metaphorical puddles as California is now facing the worst drought its seen in 150 years.  The few times it has rained this year haven’t resulted in a puddle big enough for jumping in.

Actually the drought has been on my mind a bit these last few weeks.  The good part of the drought is that we’ve been able to move up the dates of the work on our house.  Part of the work involves removing parts of the roof – something best done in dry weather.

But the dry weather brings other problems.  Much of California is semi-arid grasslands with large expanses of desert.  Modern human activity is only possible because we have damned rivers, created systems of pipes, pumps and canals to move the water around.  We’ve gotten very good about storing what little rain and snow we get and then moving it to the farms and cities where it is consumed to grow crops and wash our dishes.

The nearly 40 billion dollar agricultural economy in California wouldn’t be possible without irrigation.  This year the federal water project has announced that farms can expect no water deliveries.  The state isn’t delivering much and most farmers will have to depend on what well water there might be.  This drought threatens the state with recession again as many farmers won’t be planting crops at all.

In the cities we might fare a bit better as drinking water gets a priority over farming (well most of the time).  Many areas are already asking for voluntary 20 percent cut backs in water usage to conserve what water is left in our reservoirs – many of which are less than half full.  In my city we have a large aquifer that feeds our wells and we can tap part of San Francisco’s water stored in Hetch Hetchy.  We’ll do okay but we expect that by fall the water district will be imposing water rationing along with increased prices and general wailing and gnashing of teeth over lack of water.

This isn’t the first drought I’ve lived through but it is shaping up to be the worst.  The first drought I remember was in the late 70’s and that one brought about an awareness of water usage that led to a major effort to reduce water usage.  Low flow toilets, water efficient appliances and drought resistant plants are now a standard part of our lives.  People hosing down their driveways or washing their cars are looked upon as evil wasters of water.  Soon you’ll start to see dry lawns, dirty cars and dusty driveways.

All this water worry turns the thought of even jumping into the metaphorical puddle into a deep worry about the future.  The child in me would like to pretend there are puddles everywhere that I can joyfully splash in – getting my shoes wet and water all over my brothers.  Puddles where I can enjoy childlike abandon and indulge in carefree exploration.

But watching the dry heat rising from the pavement puts my adult mind in full worry mode.  What happens if the rains don’t come next year?

Perhaps it’s time to go order that kite.

Till next week,
Andrew

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Responses

  1. A severe draught threatened many years ago. A newspaper sponsored a contest for writing the best short saying. The winner: “Don’t Be a Drip; Save Every Drop.”


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