The rain came back today. Not surprising since I live in Seattle. However, according to the locals summer came a whole month early this year. June gloom is the way of the Pacific Northwest, but not this year. June was gorgeous, and July was downright toasty (by Seattle standard). In fact, no rain fell at all. For the whole month.
This shouldn’t phase me in the slightest. I’m from Las Vegas, where (as a friend pointed out earlier) a drop of rain causes all TV news crews to declare an extreme weather emergency. This isn’t as far fetched as it sounds. Vegas soil is not very absorbent so a tiny bit of rain is usually enough to cause a flash flood, with cars floating their way down to the Las Vegas Wash.
In Seattle, prolonged lack of rain makes people uneasy. As if mother nature is getting ready to pull something crazy. The reason this place is called the Emerald City is because the rain keeps everything green. It drizzles for 10 months out of the year. It’s peaceful and relaxing and helps us sustain our coffee consumption.
Not that the sunny skies have been unwelcome. We usually treat warm sunny weather like a unicorn. A rare mythical beast that must be worshipped and adored. Schools will have “sun days” instead of snow days, and it is not uncommon for people to call out from work to enjoy solar activity. But a whole month… nobody wants a unicorn to hang out that long. Rainbow crap piles everything, not to mention the horn just knocking stuff over.
Then there’s my garden. In Spring, it was awesome. We planted things, they grew. We thought we had magic seeds the way they took off. Some good soil, a raised bed, a little NW rain… instant garden veggies! And we never had to water. Mother nature took care of it all. I’ll be honest, it made us lazy.
Then July came and mother nature said “Enough of this, I’m going on vacation. Water your own garden.” Heather and I used our rain barrels until they ran dry. Then we started watering from the hose. Everything just keeps on drinking! They are like water zombies; their ravenous thirst will never be sated!
We weren’t prepared for this. We hadn’t set up any drip irrigation or water lines. Our rain barrels were horribly inadequate. We believed wholeheartedly in nature providing for us. It’s a good thing we live in a city; if we were subsistence farmers we would have starved to death. Well played nature… well played.
This brings up the issues of water as a human right. Access to water is a worldwide concern. Communities in the desert southwest fight over water. Global climate change causes horrible drought conditions in which affects food supplies that impact the poor the most. Water is by far the most precious commodity the earth has (along with clean air) and I take it for granted.
Heather and I have been trying to steward our water more efficiently. She’s much better at it than I am. She captures gray water, only takes a shower every other day, and set up our rain barrel system. We made the decision to take out all of our grass and replace it with garden beds and native plant life. I just try to run the faucet less. But I’m learning.
Since moving to Seattle, I’ve experienced more rain than I’ve ever had before. As a result I respect it now more than I ever have. I suppose the grass is always greener, especially when you have enough water to keep it that way.