Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Who Has the Biggest Straw

I was reading up on the drought here in Texas, because the garden demands water, and I don't know how much we'll be able to buy come summer time. A rain barrel is a must, but we don't have one, yet, and what good will it do without rain?

Herodotus speaks of the Nile River Valley, how it floods but it never rains. (I've been writing science fiction, lately, so I'm trying to read the oldest things I can find, to touch upon the things that last.) The Nile reminded me of this town. Texas is rivers and plateaus and more rivers. There is only one natural lake in Texas, on the border with Arkansas, and it's an oxbow lake. I tell that to people all the time and they don't believe me. Caddo Lake is the only one. (Sabine is arguable, but it is claimed as much by Louisiana as by Texas, and generally gets lumped one way or the other depending on which state is writing about it. Also, it is occasionally considered a bay and not a lake, because it is a port right on the gulf, and on the border. I look at a map, and it looks to be more in Louisiana than in Texas, and it is a bay that I think they call a lake to sell lakefront property. I digress...)

In Texas water rights get written about because water rights matter. We are a pro-business state. We are a pro-wealth state. If you buy land, you can build a lake on it. You can dry out the whole county to stock your recreational lake.

We're reservoir country, now. I can't help but look at a map and think that I'm seeing a slow, scattered Aswan Dam, damming up the flow of the rivers a little bit at a time until so little is left.

Behind our house, there is supposed to be water. There is supposed to be a creek that's been bone dry for ten years. It is such a little creek, and there are no snakes or mosquitoes in it, so I guess that's good. But, snakes and mosquitoes have such tiny straws. How can they stand against the men and women who would build up a reservoir for the sake of a scenic vista, and fishing now and then, and maybe a jet ski in the summer if the grandkids are around?

Life begins at the bottom. Preserving the bottom matters. Being wealthy ought to mean having the most opportunity to be a good steward of the land you hold, instead of someone who says that anyone can do anything if they spend enough money to get it. There's nature, and there's the cost of changing nature.We are terraforming our own deluge.

Stand on your balcony, and gaze out upon the water that will not be in a farmer's fields, and will not be swelling the creeks and rivers of the cities downstream. Apres moi, le deluge.

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