Monday, March 24, 2014

I think I am a Closet Pluviophile

Aaaahhh! Deep breath in...and again...and again. Be it ever so sweet, the smell of rain! It is finally raining. Or should I say showering. Hopefully showering that will turn into a good solid downpour. It is not only needed to moisten the parched land, but I think in many ways, it is needed for us personally too. 

I have found the incessant drought conditions difficult some days on my spirit. The relentless heat and dry earth under my feet have felt like some sort of punishment. You dare not walk barefoot on the dried and greenless lawns. The grass that remains is hard and coarse and sharp bits can feel like little organic daggers between your toes. The constant vigilance required to stay on top of watering your garden (carefully-one plant at a time) has become tedious. My rainwater tank has sat empty for weeks.  The one time it was fed from the last short rain only resulted in enough to supply me with a few days of cautiously doled out watering cans before it slowed to a trickle. 

It has been rare in my life to ever have to give much thought to water consumption. I recall one summer in Vancouver (believe it or not) where water restrictions were in place after a dry spell and the reservoirs were low. Occasionally a long hot heat wave in Ontario would present similar warnings, but nothing like what I see happening here in Queensland. My new awareness of how precious water is has led me to see it very differently. Any bad habits I once had like letting the faucet run while brushing my teeth, or hosing down the sidewalks or driveways of various homes, or running the washer or dishwasher with less than full loads are part of the past for me now.

In rural areas here, where people live on tank water (rain water), it is far worse. Even your dirty dish water gets re-used in the garden. Long soaks in the tub are a luxury few can afford. Not a drop is wasted. You never know when the next rain is coming, and in the case of this past never came. There was one remote town that ran out of water completely. The whole town. No water. Think about that. Think about the impact of that! Cattle have had to be killed or let starve to death. Something that is taken very much for granted in countries like Canada, is a precious commodity here.

We become so complacent when everything comes easy. It's not like I was unaware that there were many places in the world that suffered from drought. However, it is one thing to know something intellectually but quite another to  actually experience it first hand. 

It has been a good lesson for me. Although I did not personally suffer any direct hardship as a result of this drought, I have a very broadened awareness and new perspective of our collective wastefulness and I for one intend on proceeding with caution for the rest of my life. 

As I wrote that last sentence, the deluge began. There are 4 Honeyeaters taking shelter on the top of my lattice under the patio roof and they are singing and chirping and shaking their dampened feathers in what I can only assume is the most joyful dance they have done in some time! I can see the rain filling my tank! Puddles are forming on the lawn! Steve's Land-cruiser is getting a much needed wash! Ha! The sound of the rain on the patio roof is deafening! It is spilling over the gutters that are unable to hold the volume! I have never been so happy to see it rain!

I just may be a pluviophile  after all! (Look it up! LOL)

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