When I meet other people in the last few days, we all express the same joy, "Rain!"
Two inches of rain in one 24-hour period doesn't break our drought. Today, a week later, the rain drips down again. This rain won't end the drought either. There is hope: the storms are coming from Alaska, which is the first time in a couple of years that they have pushed through the high pressure zone off the Pacific Coast. It is chilly outside, which means that the rain has turned to snow in the Sierra. Because of the cold, today is a good day to get things done at home, to read in front of a fire, and to dream of abundance.
The drought has knocked us on our heels. When I am with friends, we talk about the drought and our worries about water. We take Navy showers, we collect buckets of water, we do myriad things to conserve each drop, and we worry about the trees as they wilt in the heat. Long ago we bought into the idea of green lawns and gardens. Now we look at pictures of homes with green landscaping that back up to a more natural California and wonder why we thought we could overcome Nature. We all did. When water was abundant, we squandered it.
During the drought we have checked for leaks, done less laundry, installed water-saving appliances and devices, caught extra water from the tap -- actions that conserve. It has been easy to turn off the sprinklers that water the lawn. It is harder to watch 30-year old plants and trees begin to die. So we did what we could to pinpoint a need, changed to drip irrigation or soaker hoses, and kept our fingers crossed for healing rain.
With the rain, we have hope. We watch for reports of snow in the Sierra and hope that the snow will cling to the ground. We hope that the rain will come in December and continue through winter. We hope we will not have a repeat of last year when we had good rains in December than nothing except a little in February and April. In the meantime, we dried up. Now we have hope.
With the rain, I find I have to catch myself so that I am not running the faucet, not reverting to old bad habits that slipped back into my life even after experiencing two serious droughts in previous years when we put bricks in toilets and were limited to 75 gallons per person a day. Right now we all know that water is a luxury, and that we don't have the right to use as much as we want. I hope we, meaning me, will continue to remember that when the inevitable rains return.