Sunday, October 9, 2011

Waiting for the Water

We have not experienced severe drought here, not the suffering of Texas, but rainfall has been below average for over a year. Farm ponds are drying into mud holes except for those fed by springs. The creek is a silent trickle and if it does not rain soon, it will shrink into stagnant pools. This is the normal ebb and flow for the little creek bearing no official name. Its flow has been waxing and waning according to the vagaries of the prevailing winds since the great glacial melt.

The last thirty days have been the most unusual weather I have experienced in my decades as a Kansan. It has been "human bein' weather", my term for pleasant temperatures and blue skies. Amazingly, for many days in a row, there has been no wind, no killer humidity, no changing sky, no clouds. Though dusty, it has been pleasant to be outside. Each day was the same as the day before with only a minimal change in temperature. One sunset was most unusual. With little moisture in the atmosphere, no clouds, the setting sun gave the horizon the appearance of a glowing yellow aurora borealis. This strangely calm and temperate climate has been wonderful but boring.

For the last dozen days, the weathermen have been predicting rainfall, always five days in the future. As the days ticked off, the forecast called for another day later until now we are to expect rain Monday. Even that is looking less likely. It rained at my daughter's house yesterday afternoon, enough to leave water puddled on the roads. Only a sprinkle fell at my house. The good news is that it is raining in Texas. The Weather Channel shows a dark green and yellow radar swath across the entire state, slowly moving east. I can only imagine the welcome relief the rains have brought to that parched and suffering land.

Water is the lifeblood on this planet. Almost every substance known to us will eventually dissolve in water. It is the greatest common denominator. We take it for granted. We curse it when it floods our homes, destroys our cities, sweeps clean the crowded beaches, even when it only cancels our ballgames or picnics. Collectively we are upset when it snows or hails or encases everything in ice, when the water inconveniences us, when it costs us money.

We abuse the water on this planet. We pollute it, dumping medical, agricultural, manufacturing and nuclear wastes into the very substance that sustains our lives. Only when there is no water, when we suffer, do we pray for it.

Our science dismisses the existence of anything it cannot quantify, so to say there is a consciousness within water is asking for ridicule. Before we blinded ourselves, made ourselves ignorant with empirical science, we should have taken care to protect the mystic knowledge available within our hearts. Before we allowed our religions to frighten us away from the communication humans once held with the spirit in all things, we should have taken care to protect some of the ancient wisdom.

When the thunderstorms roll in from the west, I put down tobacco in acknowledgment and gratitude for the life-sustaining patterns of wind and water and sunlight that allows my neighbors to grow the food that keeps my family alive. I am old enough now to know to also give thanks for the lack of rain. It means that somewhere else it is raining. It means that when rain falls again from the sky above my head, I will sincerely appreciate it for the gift it is. Once a person truly appreciates something, it becomes easy to feel gratitude for it. Once there is gratitude, it is easy to value and treat it with respect, honor it as sacred. It is easy to not dump trash into my creek, or spray my property with deadly chemicals that pollute the water. I cannot stop my neighbors from poisoning the creek we share, but on a certain level, it does not matter. If I live according to my own knowing, my own awareness, it means one less source of poison. When I am discouraged, thinking my tiny contribution is enormously insignificant, then I consider it is the sum of billions of individual actions that brought us to this point. My actions do matter.

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