500-year drought.

I'm a old and mellow Californian now; and so, familiar with the dry years so characteristic of my watersheds. But even with this background, this is a standout year. And everyone I've spoken to seems to agree.

My thinking about this was unexpectedly shaped by a digression I heard on an AM Radio money show some years ago… At that time, similar to the present, we were also trudging through an economic depression. The host, in the midst of reassuring counseling about possible personal economies, disciplined savings plans and prudent investing, went off on a riff about the parched earth, empty reservoirs and angry farmers. This--he explained-- was the true poverty. What use are our pathetic plans in the face of an implacable God? This is the real, the bedrock economics. Human as we are, we tend to forget these lessons.

I've been walking about our local hills quite a bit this new year, and trying hard to be positive. Although the warmth of many of our winter days has been charmed by occasional butterflies( Crescents, Painted Ladies, Red Admirals, Mourning Cloaks, Buckeyes and--for others--even Pigmy Blues), the threat has been there that we might have no real spring. Usually the first tinges of green are found under last years' dried crop by November. This time, as those same stalks have been reduced gradually to dry powder, no hint of life. Our Oak woodlands, already decimated by various stressors, looked especially forlorn in Januaries' watery sunshine. As the wildfire professionals like to observe, a whole lot of prime fuel.

Happily, in the first part of February, it's a bit better. A day's soft rain on the 2nd. brought out a sparse showing of green shoots; and for two days it's been really raining hard. As some of our western natives like to say: a 'female' rain now joined by a true 'male' downpour So a Vernal Season of some sort now seems assured; and what a relief! For our own long-term good, it's almost tempting to hope this is the best we get, because we need to make a lot of adjustments going forward. A Hundred-Year drought might be just about right.

Posted by icosahedron icosahedron, February 09, 2014 02:13

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