Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Wisdom of Spines and Flowers

You wonder where they come from...the disparate elements of flowers and spines.

Alarmed queries often accompany a proposed visit to the desert. "Aren't you afraid of the snakes?" "What if you're pricked by a cactus?" "Are there scorpions?" All have spines...

The answer is usually a shrug or "So what?" Dangers are usually benign...at least in the initial stages of a journey.

The desert is quiet except for the hum of bees - which have spines of their own. And the flowers endure, living in tranquility with all the spines. It is a wondrous harmony of disparate elements.

Cactus leaves have evolved into protective, water conserving spines...and the bees ensure the flowers will appear next year.

Except for the occasional javelina or desert tortoise that grabs a bite of prickly pear, spines ensure that cactus flowers survive as the "least molested" of blossoms.

The desert, however, isn't generous to those who won't adapt to its regimen of lean necessity.

It discovered long ago that only occasional water is necessary -- and hums along with its bees and flowers and spines in oft hidden tranquility.

It seems to know...if we won't adapt, if we lack an instinct for economy, we'll vanish.

The flowers will surely be here, but we won't see them.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Water Use Will Change...Like It or Not

Some people just don’t get it!

They seem to believe that water originates at the tap and hold the limited view that, since grass has been planted, it's a great idea to water it.

Or, if a hot-tub is available, it's quite OK to fill it...constantly...letting the tub's overflow drain handle the excess.

I have some otherwise intelligent neighbors who dismiss talk of water shortages in this arid region with the reminder that “our water comes from a spring and, anyway, the town charges families equally, whether we use it or not.”

Fortunately, this will change.

The Town of Jerome is in the process of installing water meters that will enable it to bill residents on usage.

A note on the Jerome Post Office bulletin board (it’s a small town, you know) proclaims that “Grapes are ripe at Xxxxx's. Come grab a bunch.”

Xxxxx waters his grapes twice a day with no thought of depleting the aquifer that supplies his preoccupation. We'll see if a few grapes are worth the high water bills. Realistically, however, if water from this spring doesn't flow into a storage tank, it runs down Mingus Mountain into Bitter Creek and ultimately into the Verde River.

The poor Verde -- It needs all the input it can get. As a newbie out here I was truly appalled at the diversionary dams that channel thousands of gallons-per-hour through open ditches. Signs posted by the Cottonwood Ditch Assn. proclaim, "NO Trespassing." (The photo that heads this blog was taken past this sign.)

The Northeast is experiencing the same poor water management. My friend, a competitive paddler, is lamenting the destruction of his training environment -- Akron, Ohio’s, East Branch Reservoir.

East or West, it’s all the same. Reservoirs, established by dammed rivers, are not an efficient place to store water. Aquifers, also, disappear with over-use and poor water management.

Powered by ScribeFire.