How many people know that the Sahara Desert was once a lush tropical zone with jungles and masses of foliage, and that North Africa was the granary of the Roman Empire rather than a torrid, dry and dusty realm only punctuated by a scattering of oases throughout?
Such is just one point to ponder as I sit here at my laptop wondering if it actually ‘is’ going to rain today like the prognosticators promised it would. I have noticed though that the given POP of earlier this morning of 80% chance of precip has now halved to 40. Bastard weather gods. They promised. They lied and now there is a much smaller chance it is going to piss down which is going to mean I’ll have to be out later hand-watering.
I have lived on this coast (with a few intervals elsewhere) all my life and I have never thought I might be prompted to pray for rain. But that is as it has been this year when a non-winter segued into ‘summer’, not spring. We have plants and shrubs that should be reaching their peaks in mid to late August that have now already run their course and July isn’t yet out.
And, as we all know we are on severe water restrictions and will continue to be so until that precious elixir falls from the sky in massive amounts for days and days.
Now we have a wonderful underground sprinkler network which we cannot use, and lugging watering cans around has gotten old and tedious, but that is what it takes. And as I wander the neighborhood I notice that the vast majority of people are respecting the realities of our drought and there lawns have turned brown and Arizona. There are a few self-indulgent sorts, or grassholes as the newly-coined and apt bit of terminology would call them, and so it should. Self-indulgent jerks.
But, I must say that while the citizenry has been stalwart in their respect for our radically diminished resource, those who should have been providing leadership and direction all along, haven’t. Local governments seemed to be of the opinion for much too long that the rules did not apply to them and it was only when their backs were at the wall that they acceded – in part – while still claiming their rights to certain exemptions that are not granted to those who actually pay taxes in those municipalities.
It will be interesting to see what their attitudes will be should the current state of affairs continues into October, as it easily could.
And as an end-note, since this screed has been all about ‘us’ and our deprivations, take a moment to think about the plight of our coastal fish, which are indeed in a dire situation as the rivers, creeks and tributaries dry up.
The Sahara was once a lush and verdant strand in North Africa. We must remember that.