When the well runs dry we tap our storage tank …

When the well runs dry we tap our storage tanks for water. Last night when the sound of rain on the roof woke me, something in me eased. I woke up a couple of times to the start and stop of a good rain. The rain was not steady. It came in bursts. This morning I thought as I went to check the rain gage it would be shy of an inch and it was. Living with a well whose waters do not run deep has increased our sensitivity to moisture. We watch the springs. When they stop trickling out the sides of hills we know our supply of water is limited.

Living out here in the hills teaches us the value of water and to monitor its usage. Showers are quick. Get wet. Wash. Rinse. When we clean dishes or produce in the sink there is a watering can to catch the runoff. The garage roof funnels water into a 1,700 gallon tank. One inch of rain yields about 500 gallons. We have two other tanks collecting water from other roofs to water the garden.

Our energy efficient dish and clothes washer help us conserve. My mother laughs when we visit, because it is as if I were back in college, bringing dirty laundry to her house. But now I do the washing and drying.

The stream in front of our house has been mostly silent the last three years. The pools have filled with algae. I miss the thrilling sound of rushing water. I worry about the big blue heron who fishes by the bridge. Will there be enough, or any, fish for her this year? I hope so, because I will miss the sound of her lifting into the air at dusk and flying over our house to her nest. There is something comforting in the sound of the large wings flapping and the long grace of her body flying overhead as the first stars become visible.

Water is a gift of life. Without water we cannot survive. I sometimes wish I lived back in town and could have a drip system on timers to water the roots of the fruit trees, vegetables, bushes and flowers, but then the intimate relationship I have with all that feeds me would be lessened. In an inferno summer I cuss our situation, but when it rains gratitude spreads through every cell of my body. I feel washed in goodness and the possibility of new and deeper growth. Let us do what we can to conserve water, and to keep water pure and flowing.



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