Friday, May 05, 2006

Waiting For Rain



During the summer of 2002, we experienced severe drought conditions here in Virginia. The river shrank to almost nothing. Water rationing was put into effect, lawns and gardens could not be watered and people who had just installed pools could not fill them. Those were the "little" inconviences that many people suffered through. But many more difficult problems resulted. Wells ran dry, farmers couldn't provide water for their livestock and businesses like car washes had to close. Livelihoods were at stake. Everyone depends on water. We cannot live without it.

Today I sit here watching the water level and pray hard that it will rain soon. We're down over 7 inches of precipitation for the year. We received very little snow this winter, a valuable commodity, since it refills ground water supplies which shrink during the warm months. Between February 26th and April 6th, no moisture collected in my rain gauge. The city got something like 2/10th of an inch during that time. We have had some rain since then, but not enough ... not nearly enough to keep me from wanting to run out into the streets to tell people to fix their leaky faucets, don't flush their toilets (if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down) and to rush out and buy rain barrels. And many other parts of our country and the world are in much worse shape than we are.

Here at my house, we're collecting cold water in buckets from the shower as it warms up and save water from dish washing to keep houseplants and the garden alive. We have 2 rain barrels and a 3500 gallon cistern in which we recover rainwater from our roof. We don't flush unless it's "brown" or gets very smelly. Our well is deep and in good shape, but I'd rather not use it to keep my shrubs and trees alive. That is what the rainwater is for.

I didn't photographed the river in 2002 and now I wish I had. But I did write the following poem:

Waiting for Rain

Mid August
the river shrinks
exposing stumps
rocks relics
from another world
grass burns brown
crunches under foot
yellowed leaves spiral
to the ground
as if it’s September

I sprinkle wilted hydrangeas
a treasured viburnum
with water saved
from washing dishes
delight in
a feather-worn cardinal
a brazen titmouse
preening in the birdbath
I keep refilling
just for them

Mourn as lime
moss and bottle greens
recede into memory
like the clatter of rain
on windows
the way thunder showers
puddle on the street
scattering as I drive through
a favorite place
to sail a tiny ship

jzr

5 comments:

Visual-Voice said...

Lovely poem ~ I remember that year. I visited my dad's lake house and they couldn't dock the boat because the lake had evaporated so much. Rain ~ how I love the rain!

brenda said...

I thought of all the ways I used, and wasted water, today - laundry, cleaning the guinea pig cage, doing dishes. What a precious commodity for many. Here in Vermont we've never had to worry about a drought. Our yard is saturated and still the rains come. Wish we could share. We'll work hard to not waste.

jzr said...

Thanks, Brenda! It is important to conserve even in times of plenty. For one thing, it gives us a head start and we don't feel so inconvenienced when drought does arrive.

jzr said...

Thanks, Brenda! It is important to conserve even in times of plenty. For one thing, it gives us a head start and we don't feel so inconvenienced when drought does arrive.

Anonymous said...

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