Hopes Fade for Strong El Niño in California is the headline of an article in today’s New York Times written by one Henry Fountain. A strong El Niño, according to generally baffled meteorologists,  might pull us out of our drought.

“Is it too early to start worrying,” I ask Suzanne when I see her while doing her garden. “Did you ever stop?” she asks.

No, but hopes are a different kettle of worthless mental expenditures though, come to think of it, worries and hopes are closely related. Siblings, possibly.

You hear drought mentioned a lot, but the pools are full; the toilets flush; the Salinas valley is green with lettuce. The shoreline at Crystal Springs Reservoir seems to be at a normal level when you drive past. I shower more often than I need to, though I can imagine some of you think otherwise, and water my garden, carefully but adequately. The disconnect is odd. So why worry prematurely? November is two months away, when the rainy season usually begins.

Just in case I’m going to do my part to ensure that every shallow person in the Bay Area is going to be complaining about “another rainy day” when March rolls around. It is an effort based entirely on shamanism, sorcery, black magic, and total nonsense. I will cajole the rain not with singing and dancing (though some of that might happen too) but with sweet words. Let’s begin with an unsurpassed poem in English:

Oh western wind, when wilt thou blow                                                                                That the small rain down can rain?                                                                                   Christ, that my love were in my arms                                                                                    And I in my bed again!




4 responses to “FADING IN CALIFORNIA

  1. In the words of Alfred E. Neuman, “What, me worry?” Last night I watched “Cool It”, a documentary based on “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg, a gay Danish writer, whose book (and film) is a rebuttal to “An Inconvenient Truth.” Now, I don’t know whether to shower, or not.

  2. It feels a bit odd to be an advocate for hope after 3 years of drought and seeing things die in my own garden, but I must. (The eternal optimism of a gardener perhaps ?) But reality is, as you say “pools are full”, and the rainy season is due to start. We live in this summer-dry climate and EVERY year worry about rain, farmers, fish, population growth, and our petunias. One day, (will it be next year ?), we may face a true crisis and and see a run on deodorant at the store but until then we can dance for that western wind.

    May I attach a post I did about water? http://www.gardeninggonewild.com/?p=27152

    • Thanks, Saxon, for directing me to your post, and for all your contributions “to our collective sanity.” I see the Native Grassland Association workshop on the 18th is filled up. Good sign. Will you be there? Look forward to hearing more and of course, seeing more of your beautiful photos.

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