Drying Out.

Most of Tennessee, most of the southeastern United States, I think, has been experiencing a drought. I’m not kidding when say I hear about floods or massive hurricanes affecting other areas right now and wish there were an easy way to move that water away from places where it’s doing damage and put it where it’s needed—but spread it out enough that it doesn’t do damage here either. A flood or hurricane is terrible but fast, even if the consequences are long-lasting. A drought is a tragedy in slow motion.

There’s a shopping center next to where I get off the bus and lately the sprinklers have been running when I disembark. For a while I could make the joke that I sometimes make about certain neighbors: “I know it’s going to rain. The people down the street are running their sprinklers.” Maybe there’s a house like that in every neighborhood, a house where, if you didn’t know better, you’d swear their sprinklers are able to magically conjure up rain. Although they’re not nearly as bad as the people next door to them whose automatic sprinkler system only seems to come on when it rains, but that’s another story.

As it became clearer we were having a drought, though, I stopped joking about the sprinklers running. And then I started wondering if it was a waste of water, although green grass helps prevent erosion. Xeriscaping is fine in arid regions, but in places where dryness is unusual it can cause problems when the rains finally come.

And the running sprinklers cause problems too—for me, anyway. One day a bus driver nicely stopped far enough from the sidewalk that, he pointed out, I wouldn’t have to step right into the spray. That was fine but I still had to get to the sidewalk anyway. And other drivers haven’t been so considerate. But a bright side of the weather is the humidity is low and my legs were dry by the time I got home.

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  1. The Huntress915

    You aren’t kidding about the entire Xeriscape thing in areas where rain isn’t the norm. Here in El Paso we usually don’t get much rain, and a while back people began to Xeriscape to keep from wasting precious water resources. But when it does rain there is so much damage and the Xeriscape is all over the roads, sidewalks and parking lots as many businesses also have taking to this type of landscape.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s crazy. I’ve always thought xeriscaping was a good idea, but, yeah, you’re right, it’s really only good in areas that never get any rain, like parts of southern Africa that have an average rainfall of thirteen inches a year. I guess the ideal would be to have plants with lots of roots to prevent everything from washing away, but it takes time for things like that to grow.

  2. Tom

    How come everything is suddenly reminding me it’s time to dry out? 😉

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I take no credit for suggesting you should dry out. If anything I’ll pour you another drink. If I were a superhero I’d be The Enabler.
      Actually that might be a supervillain…

  3. Ann Koplow

    Thank goodness your creativity isn’t drying out, Chris. We need it.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Fortunately the font of creativity seems to be endless, even if it does stop up from time to time.


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