I feel like the one person the serial killer has freed so she can tell the world what happened. Only there’s no one to tell. No “crime” has been committed.
I went up to Mt.Tamalpais on Tuesday to get water from the spring. It’s something I do every few months, having living water on hand is something that appeals to the Druid in me and it’s a great excuse to go up and spend some time in the forest. This time the pipe was dry. I’ve never known this to happen before. I’ve been drinking from this spring since my teens and even on the hottest day in summer the mountain has always had a cool drink to offer.
It’s January and the pipe is dry.
It’s January and it looks like *August.*
I know droughts are part of life. That’s the story we keep telling ourselves anyway. But this one is part of a pattern. The climate is changing, catastrophic events are becoming the norm. In other words, this isn’t a catastrophic event, this is a catastrophe. A slow one, so we can fool ourselves into saying it’s an isolated incident. We can avoid noticing what’s going on all around us. We humans have managed to throw enough carbon into the atmosphere and cut down enough trees to deform the jet stream.
This is a worldwide problem, of course, though we in the developed world have so far been lucky enough to escape the worst effects of it. Lucky enough, in fact that I can be so shocked when the beginnings of desertification appear on my own doorstep. We have dismissed the droughts in places like Ethiopia, Somalia and Syria as normal, if we’ve noticed them at all. Those places have always been deserts, as Sam Kinison, among others, have said. It’s a problem that we in the developed world have created, and we’ve taught the rest of the world to follow our example.
We’ve caused this, and this is the biggest blessing of all. We did this, and we can undo it. We know what needs to be done, and it’s well within our capabilities. All it will take is hard work, and it can even feel good if we choose to let it.
I wrote a song on my way back down the mountain. The long slow curves of the mountain road became a tune, and the terror I felt became a chant. When I hit the parking lot of Good Earth in Fairfax, to fill my water bottle, the verse began to break through with the ludicrousness of the fact that I had to ask two separate people in two different parts of the store for a source of cold water. Bottled water or any number of cold packaged drinks had stared me in the face from the moment I walked in the door. Back up the mountain I went, pulling off at turnouts and singing the bits into my iPad. A full first verse and scraps of the second and darkness was falling. Butt-in-BART-seat back and forth over the next day and it was done. I offer it to you as a warning and a call to action.
DISCLAIMER: The drain pipe of the Rock Springs fire hydrant is not potable according to Marin Municipal Water District. Consume at your own risk. I drink it, I’ve never been sick, but I am a nut. And that’s the saddest commentary of all, to me. Our springs and creeks are not safe to drink and we don’t even realize how insane that is.