Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's about Water

All three kids are home and we’ve had some good conversations. Callie likes to ask roundtable questions whenever we’re together: Who was your favorite teacher and why? Who inspires you the most? What is your favorite form of water? (now, that’s original!)

Someone answered, “rain on a tin roof.” Another, “a slow moving river.” Still another, “ocean waves.” Callie contributed, “hot water in a tea cup.” For me it was easy, “a drink from the spring on Meadow Creek.” The best drink of water you’ll ever taste.  

It rises up out of a rocky side hill, making tiny pools as it meanders down through rocks. Watercress grows here. If you ride by you just have to stop. You can cup your hands and scoop it to your lips (always losing some of the precious stuff on the way up), or you can lie flat on your belly and stick your face down to the water. Neither approach works very good. So this summer I took up a tin cup to leave at the site. The cup is bright blue; you can’t miss it. It’s nestled under a sagebrush just northwest of the spring.

Sounds romantic doesn’t it? And romanticizing water is easy to do if you’re a rancher during this hot, dry summer. Our irrigation water is running short. One stream has officially been cut by 30%, and the others are weakening.

Wildfire is another concern. South and Central Idaho are burning as I write. The news reports talk of people evacuated and homes lost, but what they don’t say is the numbers of livestock at risk or the harrowing work of ranchers moving cattle out of harm’s way.

And if you save the cattle, what are they supposed to eat? The thought makes me shudder.

We had one scare during a lightning storm last week. Mark caught a horse and hustled to the hills just as the BLM was arriving with their rigs. Then a rain storm let loose and it was all over.

Water. Life. same, same.  

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