It has been 50 years since this land has seen so little water. Our crunchy chunk of the globe has made national news and the Wall Street Journal predicts that almost four billion dollars of agriculture revenue will be lost. And there are other losses, uncounted.
Powerless – that is how I feel as I look out on my parcel of dryness. In town they, at least, recycle some of the water used. That accounts, I suppose, for some of the green I see. People have small plots and, within restrictions, use some of the precious resource to keep their piece of the earth from becoming completely scorched.
But in the county, it’s different. I live near a lake that is drying up. And that lake supplies the water we need to live. Our septic recycles water only as it dumps it back on a small part of the land, which is good- but not enough. Others live off their wells, which are running dry.
Last week, one of our 60 foot trees came down. A deep crack right in the middle of its trunk took away its ability to regroup and grow. The crack was from rot where water had collected, then dried. When my husband spoke with the arborist about the trees and the lack of water, he said “You have got to give them water.” Where to begin? There are 20 trees in one corner alone of my property. What will live and what will die?
Watering the grass is like thumping on the chest of a giant. The earth is unmoved by my paltry attempts to relieve its discomfort. It is hard and cracked. Should we use our dwindling necessity of life to keep trees and grass alive when people and animals need it? What to do? Again, I feel my smallness. I know now why the Indians choreographed elaborate rain rituals. They knew where to turn.
I moved out here for the land and the water. Now one is disappearing and the other is in pain. My will to be here is being tested and it is a lesson in humility. We thought we would wrestle up and reel in the wildness of our space to create and grow. But the Earth and its- MY- creator had other things in mind. Why, does it take near disaster, if not disaster itself, to get eye contact with God? Even then, I know too well that when he releases the pressure, I will go back to my distractions.
I know the signs of obsession. Every day I think of water and rain. Not so much for others as for myself. So right there I am working on acceptance of this fact of drought. From there I will understand that we all suffer. That the suffering of others is something I need to think and care about. I pray for rain but I also pray that God will see my heart and know my weakness and lead me away from my thoughts and concern of me and mine. I pray that the drought will leave and leave me changed. More grateful, more connected to the harshness that touches us all. I want the memory of the drought to etch a crevice of knowing in me of my place and my status with all things and the power greater than myself who crafted every bit of it.