I’ve been chronicling my project with my wife on this blog. I’m going to write a sonnet series about the creation of California. I’m using the dual stories of William Mulholland and John Muir to tell the story of water in California, what really made it what it is. Ann’s a visual artist, so she’s going to do the graphic art work for it.
This time of year is strange when we have droughts in California. Right now, I’m staring out the window at dark clouds on a hot day. It’s been six or seven months since we’ve had rain, and the Santa Ana winds have been blowing on and off. They’re a scirroco that come out of the desert drying out our area even more than it was.
But today it’s raining. My friend in Riverside, out near the desert, has been heading a community garden. He’s a water expert and has been helping people to grow flowers and food. The rain came pouring down yesterday. And yesterday, he nearly lost the garden.
Rain in a dry world is a strange thing. The earth needs the water, but has sealed itself off. Most of the dirt has turned into a kind of concrete, hard packed. When the water comes, it doesn’t sink into the ground where it’s needed. It pools and runs off, and we lose it.
Later in the season, the light rains will soften everything up and help the land keep the water. We hope that’s what happens. Right now though, rain is just melancholy, and I sit in my office and watch it run off into the ocean.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been writing about lately. It’s one of those things that shocked Mulholland, and why he put dams all across the L.A. basin.