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July 16, 2014



Talc. Such a miserably dry word. Just pronouncing it makes you thirsty. Talc describes the soil as it flows out behind the tractor while pulverizing the earth in order to dominate it a little longer with some instant agriculture. Rip it with tough metal tines, throw a bit of magic soybean meal on it and walk a big fat rototiller over the bed with the force of 64 horses churning the stuff to dust like a Hamilton Beach blender turned all the way to OBLITERATE.

Now plant a few thousand tender transplants into the talc, lay on some sadly disposable plastic tubing and watch the rain that fell in 2010 drip-drip-drip out the teensy holes, the water spreading out into a contiguous line all the way from the well to the tender roots now embedded in the powder of the season.

Should I refrain from reminding you continually of the doom? I’m always returning to the morbid portent of running out of water and the habit must seem self-indulgent. Of course someone should bleat about the inevitable calamity of dry taps sucking air in unison down every fresh street and throughout orchards and plantscapes. Perhaps not. If the severe and unthinkable end of water is unavoidable, is there reason to warn? The lake will shrink into a muddy puddle sooner or later. Perhaps we should all wash the dust of our vehicles one last time before packing up and driving away. I am sorry to do the math, but the math is unavoidable. If we are three to five years into a serious drought and three years of serious rain are needed to erase the deficit, it seems that we are depending a little too heavily on the coming rainy season to float us back up to peace of mind.  The smart people, those bleaters woefully warning that 18 months is the maximum water storage available for Southern California, have been doing the same math.

Officials are right to advise conservation. But should The Gov lay all the responsibility on poor Gwen and Glenn, who have decided to only wash their children every other day unless they are wretchedly filthy, and painted their names with finger nail polish on water glasses so they can drink and then store the glasses without unnecessarily washing them repeatedly and spent a small fortune on mulching their back yard. When Gwen couldn’t find her car in a big parking lot last week her companion asked her what color it was and Gwen couldn’t remember. “ It’s sort of a dusty-coppery-gray, or was it blue?”  She gave up and came back with Glenn at 11 PM when the lot had cleared out and her dusty-coppery car ( not blue) was more obvious.

Shouldn’t Big Boy cut back? Why does Little Boy always fight the war? The local water districts are not distributing water meters until the drought ends.


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