This is 9:30 A.M. The afternoon was 38. (That’s 100 for you folks down south.)
Forests are burning up. Smoke everywhere. All the upland water still being evaporated by the city on the dry hills. Surreal. People in town are being asked not to water their lawns. “The lawns will come back,” the officials say. Yeah, right. Shrubberies are toast. Wait. Aren’t those coastal shrubberies? What’s with that? I count 7 dead ones at $30 a piece. Crikes! And look at this hill, eh. Nothing will grow here without irrigation, that’s for sure. (Those are irrigated trees around a house up top.) But, wait, what’s that in the centre of the picture? Ah, asparagus growing wild. Without water, except what is shed by that rock. So, maybe not that dry, eh. Maybe it’s a matter of getting one crop off and then having a rest. How many crops come off an agricultural field in a year, anyway? One, usually. Whoa, what’s this, two months back? Flax! That’s two crops! And, blow me over, what’s this, just to the left of the asparagus, growing on no water but what is shed from the rock? Feral plums! That’s three crops. Oh, and on the rock? Yeah, watch your step. Again, two months ago. Prickly pears! And what grows in cracks in these rocks? Saskatoons! That’s five crops. How many is enough? They are growing with no water. This land isn’t dry. Inappropriate agricultural and water technology is dry. The land is fruitful. It’s close to the end of the year. In a couple weeks it will be the dry season here: effectively winter. People will be on the lake, splashing around in their summer, but that’s all in their heads. So, are those the only crops? No, not exactly. In a ditch down the hill, where it’s even hotter, there’s this:Feral apricots! And in the ditch just around the corner from our asparagus, cared for and watered by no one, there’s this: Feral apples! I could go on. The only drought is a drought of knowledge and technology, coupled with an insistence that food must be grown on private land and then either sold for a profit or donated to charity, by people who have paid for it, to be given to the people who can’t afford to pay for technologically-produced crops. It’s insane. To take productive grasslands, with a dozen or more food crops across a season, and reduce them to farmland for two generations and then let them go to this, on a principle of private ownership is a betrayal of the common good. It is theft. You see, that’s not hay. That’s weeds being baled and sold for whatever marginal amount of nutrition there’s in it, to maintain low farm taxation status. Oh, and this… No, that’s not a fallow field. A fallow field isn’t weed-killed from one end to the other and let to bake to nothing. A fallow field has a rejuvenating crop on it, to build up its microbial environment, which is the real soil. That’s a dwarf apple orchard in the middle of the picture, and a field of decorative pumpkins in front of it. This is not farming. This is farming: That’s the fall crop. (The sagebrush are the result of unethical over-grazing by cattle.) By the time the deer can be harvested in October, early spring’s crop will be sprouting. When the sunbathers by the lake are skiing on the mountain, spring’s crop will already be growing under the snow, which is not, by the way, cold. It acts as a grid of tiny lenses, creating a greenhouse 5 millimetres high. That’s enough. In mid-March, it will look like this, on what are now the driest of slopes. Lambs quarters! Better than spinach. This is not a dry country. If there is dryness, it means someone created it. That means it can be reversed. The real global warming is not an effect of smokestack and tailpipe carbon emissions. It is the effect of 19th century technology and thought applied in ignorance. It’s time to apply what we know and start over, in earnest, with open hearts and open eyes, and to listen to the robin wait. Everything in its season.