Monday, March 30, 2015

I Worry About Water

wildflowers blooming on
 Columbia Hills trail
I worry about water.  A lot.  We have had an amazingly mild winter in Hood River.  Outside of the brutal snow and ice early in the season that nuked the cherry orchards, it has seemed like March all winter.  But here at the end of March, the daffodils and crocus are done.  The wild flowers are popping all over Columbia Hills trails. The weather is beautiful, and if it was May, I'd be thrilled.  The mountains are losing their white weeks and weeks too soon.

I worry about water and glaciers melting. Up on Mount Hood the roads are not covered in snow.  Skiing is minimal. The jutting ridges of the mountain stick out as if a breeze caught her wrap-around skirt and exposed something meant to be private. Without the "normal" snow melt, White River is barely a trickle.  Even Multnomah Falls seems anemic.

Columbia River at Hood River March 2015
I stare into the distance and worry about water. How will we water our orchards and farms come the dry, dry August?  Will fire season obliterate everything it turns crisp and brown?  When the fires do strike, where will the helicopters scoop up loads of water to dowse the angry flames?

I remember the summer - probably 25 years ago - when we had a drought in St. Louis and the Mississippi retreated from its banks, exposing debris that had been forgotten for decades - even centuries.  Those of us at the Historical Society were thrilled to go explore the rotted boat timbers and various other things in the riverbed.  River traffic was all but halted as the sweltering sun evaporated our Muddy Mississippi.  The experience was repeated in 2012.

I worry about water as I read Sherry Simmons' book: The Dominion of Bears.  She talks about the difficulties of Alaskan brown and black bears as climate change alters habitat.  Polar bears will not be able to get to feeding shelves as the glaciers melt away.  She talks about their anatomy and diet and their inability to adapt to a life on land.  So very worried about water.

So I conserve how much I use, taking brief showers and turning the tap off while I brush my teeth.  It's not that I think that will solve the problem, but more of an homage to the sacredness of water.  I pray for scientists, hoping their smarts and curiosity will help us somehow.  I pray for the neigh-sayers, that the Creator may open their eyes and minds or maybe just bob them "upside the head" to take this all seriously.

Last year the discovery of a vast reservoir of water far beneath the surface of the planet was announced.  Let's hope that those we elect don't think we'll be able to somehow drain the core to meet our watery needs and continue to ignore the facts.  I worry about water and I worry that those in power do not stare off into the distance worrying about the miracle that is hydrogen and oxygen.

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