Where the Deer and the Antelope Waddle

Lots of whining lately about all the rain.

Understandable. It gets old. Those of us in the sunny West rely upon our average of 330 sunny days each year. The last two weeks of nearly unceasing rain has people making grumbling remarks about Seattle. They also make absurd statements like “Since when did Denver get a monsoon season?” This from people I went to high school with. Who have lived in Denver for 40+ years. They should know better.

Before the drought, our Junes were always cool and rainy. They’ve forgotten.

Memories are short. And subjective experience seems to be the shortest. We’ve been in a drought for ten years now. An entire decade. Did you remember it had been that long. I didn’t — I’d been saying eight years. Now I’m wondering which two years I lost… At any rate, this decade-long drought in the western states has exceeded the infamous Dust Bowl.

Nobody seems to know this.

Of course, we don’t have the icons of that drought. The enormous dust clouds. The ragged people fleeing the farms to wander the cites with their belongings on carts. Technology allows us to irrigate, to control the flows of the rivers, to truck in water. Instead of losing livelihoods, our urban lives are impacted by hot, sunny days, perfect for recreation.

Now people are saying they miss the drought. They’re right — there isn’t much of one at the moment. (That link updates weekly, so if you’re reading this later, the map might be different. But what it shows as of June 9, 2009, is small patches of abnormally dry soil in the West and huge swathes of soil with normal moisture — it’s a miracle, really.)

It was like this, in the before time. I remember the summer I turned 16. I babysat for two kids and we would ride our bikes in the chilly rain to their golf and tennis lessons. When I was young, I used to write in my books the date I finished them. (No, I don’t know why.) I finished Little House in the Big Woods on June 8, 1974 and I noted that it was snowing. With an exclamation point. Cold and rainy, yes — even then snow in Denver on June 8 was remarkable.

Of course we’re all tired of the rain. We want to sit on our patios. We want to play in the mountains and soak up the western sunshine. We’ve had enough of cold and want summer already.

But in all the wanting for the warmth, let’s take a moment to give thanks for the rain.

One Reply to “Where the Deer and the Antelope Waddle”

  1. Well, seein' as my sprinkler system is currently on the fritz, and takin' into account my innate laziness, I am just chock full of thankfulness for the rain.

    //"Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there."

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