Posts Tagged ‘drought’

There’s no doubt about it, Georgia is in the grips of a devastating drought.  When you see it on the news, and translated into inches-below-average rainfall measurements, it can seem rather distant and unimpressive.  But on a human level, we’ve seen job loss on an individual basis, well-established nursery businesses filing bankruptcy, property values decline, and dramatic impacts on everyday lifestyles. 

In Georgia, there’s a sense of there being two states, urban and rural, or as is eluded to, Atlanta and everywhere else.  But this time around, the drought is affecting all of us.  Agriculture has suffered on a scale that, hopefully, we’ll never become accustomed to, and cattlemen are culling their herds due to a shortage of available hayin the Southeast.  Meanwhile, in the urban and suburban areas, water restrictions are the tightest they’ve ever been, with carefully-designed landscaping dying and drying in the sunshine.  Grim predictions of a dire shortage of drinking water persist, with rumors circulating about the prospect of rationing.  Grocery stores are seeing a run on bottled water in the same way that they experience shortages of bread and milk before a winter storm. In all, the lack of rain has come home to Atlanta.

So how could a drought like this bring anything other than misery? 

Just look at the trees……..we’ve never had a fall this colorful, this beautiful for this long.  Even the old folks, picking greens in the garden, can’t help but pause and comment.  Our normal pattern in the fall is, just as the trees start to turn colors, the windy thunderstorms strike and denude the trees of their leaves with nary a glimpse of fall color.  We’re used to verdant summer cascading in a torrent  into the grey nakedness of winter; you can hear it in the way we wistfully talk about driving north to “see the trees” as if we didn’t have trees in our area.  What we mean, of course, is that we long to go north see the trees that still have their fall foliage, to breathe in crisp autumn air, and experience for an afternoon or, luxuriently, a whole weekend, the passage of the seasons.

Not so this year.  October and November ushered in no torrents of rain to wash away the color, and even driving into work along Sandy Creek road, I can inhale deeply and savor the collage of brilliant oranges, yellows and golds set against a perfect, blue, cloudless the sky.  A canopy of old oaks and maples lines the road and drapes me in autumn splendor.  White fences shine brightly in the sunlight and stand in contrast to the array of colors, framing fields and gardens in a raucus display of seasons.

I can’t help but feel thankful for the gift of this fall, and maybe that makes me duplicitous.  I pray for rain, for great waterfalls of rain that will heal the parched land around me, and yet every morning I allow myself the guilty pleasure of being thankful for the beautiful fall this year.  For the cool dry nights, for  the bright sunny days, for the brilliant array of colors, and for being allowed to drive down a country road on my way to and from the city.  And if I am duplicitous in my enjoyment of the beauty that this tragic drought has brought us, how much more duplicitous is the drought, for making a landscape so dry, and so breathtakingly beautiful?

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