Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hot. Dry.

This morning I was the den mother for a woman who's in town interviewing for a job at Small College. She's never been to Kansas, and I found myself apologizing for the patches of brown along the roadways.

"I'm sorry it doesn't look prettier--we're really, really dry this year," I told her.

She looked at me and laughed.

"In California right now it's completely brown," she said. "We're just glad it's not on fire."

When the weather is as hot and dry as it is these days, it's hard to remember that we're not the only ones rowing this boat across the desert. Most of us don't remember another summer like this one, when the temperature has been so unremittingly hot--over 100 at 9 p.m.--and when no rain is remembered or forecast.

I fret over my flower beds where insects have ravaged the rhubarb leaves in their search for moisture. In spite of my faithfulness in watering every day, nothing is thriving except the mint. Even the zinnias struggle, their hardiness no match for heat that begins before the sun is up. The water that pours out of the hose is warm.

As I mourn my flowers, though, I think of the farmers who are hauling water to livestock who can no longer drink at the dried-up ponds. Families who depend on wells for their water are resorting to bathing at home but hauling their dirty clothes to a laundromat in town.

I think of the people who have been chased from their homes by floods along the Missouri River this spring, and others whose lives were changed forever by the monstrous power of tornadoes or tsunamis or wildfire. Set beside those tragedies, my struggling flowers are barely worth mentioning.

But I have to mourn them, because they were mine.

1 comment:

  1. Wish I would have stopped along I-70 just east of Chapman last week. There was a whole herd of cattle just standing in a large pond to cool off. Twill be interesting to see if the soybeans and milo make it to harvest or whether we collect insurance this year. Sure been allot of chatter in facebook about piping some of the flood waters to the dry west. Carol