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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Feelin' Rich 2

“Come quick!” I hollered to Linda from the front entry.  “And bring your umbrella.”  I was so excited I thought I’d wet myself.  Not that I’d notice.  I was already soggy from standing in the rain, the just barely warmer than snow rain.

Out the door, we stepped over the gravel driveway rivulets to the shed lean-to.  Now that I had led Linda here I felt like delaying the surprise, savoring the moment.  As we listened to the overhead tapping of water on steel, we watched junco peck at the feeder hanging in the hedgerow, just beyond the Humanure Hacienda.   Behind us, the driveway rivulets converged to form a large puddle.  Its outflow, the driveway stream, coursed down the hillside, flooding the mowed path.    I couldn’t stand it anymore.  The time had come.
Down the hillside, we sloshed across the flooded path.  I pointed.  And there, parallel to the driveway stream, flowed yet another stream.   Much to our wondrous eyes, this stream gushed right out of the hillside like a newly emerged spring.    Yet its sound---like the echo of a subterranean waterfall---was like no earthly spring.   It could only be, it had to be, the cistern overflow pipe.  And that could only mean one thing:  the 5400 gallon cistern was full of harvested rainwater!  We’re rich!!!  Just like our solar electric, we’re rich again!!!

And yet, as the rain continued to fall, we both stood there in denial.  How could it be full already?  We’d just endured the spring-less April.    Snow, sleet, ice and yes rain, occasionally it fell as cold, cold rain.   And each time, I’d dash out with my raincoat and throw the switch, directing the downspout water through the first flush diverter and into the cistern.    When the rain stopped, or began turning the downspout into a giant snow-cone maker, I’d turn the switch off, directing the water back out into the yard.   
But since we lack transparency---no good system for seeing how much water is in our cistern---we never knew how much water we’d collected.  Until now!  Now, like our off-grid solar electric, we’re in the season of abundance.   Spring!  Is that why we call it that?  Because water gushes forth with bounty? 

“Waste away!” I tell Linda.  “Let it gush out the faucet, just for the joy of it, if you like.”   Why not?  That’s the way the world works.  Isn’t it?  Not only our cistern, but both our ponds overfloweth.  No creature of the Land is wanting for water now.  Why should we?   The season of scarcity, the winter-long drought of rainwater harvest, is over.   No more thought to water conservation.  No more short showers.   No more worrying about a wasted drop.  It’s time to wash ourselves in the abundance.

My old grid-tied life---measured and metered---deprived me of this wild ride.  I’d even begun to believe that the world provided constant availability.  Of water.  Of energy.  Of food.  But now, thankfully now---  as the cistern overflow pipe gushes---I’m living like the world really works:  the ever-cycling seasons of scarcity and abundance.   And ALL my real joys (and hence sorrows) live in that cycle:  the feeding flocks of juncos, my precious friendships,  my darling Linda.  The grid, in its well-intentioned drive to subdue the sorrow of scarcity, stripped me of the joy of abundance.  No more!   

I’m a lucky man. 


  1. great post Mike! I've also been thinking a lot about scarcity and abundance, was so glad to share in your joy and simple pleasure in the natural riches of 'enough water'. This earth is an amazing place, isn't it?
    Diane Sweeney

    1. Thanks Diane! More than you know, I think about our last conversation over dinner. It was a thrill to feel a connection with someone about these long forgotten, if not forbidden, fruits. Scarcity AND Abundance. Life AND Death. Competition AND Collaboration. I'd sure like to do it again! Perhaps when the novel is released, we can find a way to gather around it.

  2. Would absolutely love that Mike, please keep me in mind when the big day comes. Sounds like it's soon! -Diane