Two days in a row, late in the afternoon the clouds boil up like thick, campfire smoke, gritty and menacing. Sudden gusts slap and claw everything--trees, shrubs, fences. The wind chimes go wild. It takes the edge off the blazing hot 5 o'clock heat hump. But it is agonizing to by trampled by a thundering herd of cumulonimbus without a single drop of rain, the dust whipped into a choking frenzy yet again. How sobering to confront the primal and utter helplessness of drought.
For now we have water in the ditch. And city water--thanks to a lot of heavy machinery, a complicated subterranean network of pipes, and big blast of environmentally-expensive electricity. We live in the north valley--we have put down our roots close to the river. We tirelessly protect our food plants and flowers, watching them, watering, weeding, bringing straw and bark to help them stay moist and survive another day without significant rainfall. The July monsoons seem very far away, all shimmery and thin: we are crawling towards them as best we can.