Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

A big-time dry spell


We interrupt this normally light-hearted word-stream to stop and smell the dry, cracked lakebed that is California these days. I mean, whoa!

One reason the drought is hitting home with me is that a couple of months ago I saw a photo much like the one above, showing the current level of Lake Oroville, north of Sacramento. My father used to live up the hill from the right side of the bridge in this picture, so seeing arid earth instead of cool blue water is quite a shock. I know the area well.

Back in July I stopped watering my lawn because I began feeling a tad guilty. For one thing, my lawn was no great shakes, yet it was a thirsty sumbitch. In fact, when I got the most recent water bill, I was amazed to see that our consumption was cut from 14 units to 5 units (i.e., by 900 cubic feet)! Now I look at our dry, straw-like grass with pride.

The SF Chronicle ran a series of pictures this week that really dramatize this growing catastrophe. Many of the pictures allow you to move a slider back and forth to permit striking before and after views of the same location, including my dad’s bridge above. Prepare for a shock.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to lift our heads from the keyboard, where we build our fictional worlds, and take a close look at the real world.

(PS — It rained ever so slightly last night… Hope springs!)

10 comments on “A big-time dry spell

  1. kingmidget
    September 18, 2014

    In January I drove a loop from Sacramento to Mammoth Lakes, then down to Long Beach, then along the coast to San Luis Obispo; then across the coastal range and up the valley to Sacramento. At a time of year when everything is typically damp, muddy and vibrantly green everything was dry, brown, and dead. Everywhere along that route. It was amazing and was when I realized just how bad things were.

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 18, 2014

      I noticed that too in the winter/spring. Where are my green hills?!

  2. sknicholls
    September 18, 2014

    Friends tell me they got no snow in the mountains last year when the whole country was inundated with it. Shifting climate. Scary and weird. Down year it’s rain and sunshine every day, with humidity in the swim zone. Urgh!

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 18, 2014

      I’m starting to think the apocalypse is nigh. 0_0

  3. ericjbaker
    September 18, 2014

    I don’t put stock in supernatural intervention, by I’m doing a mental rain dance for you just in case. Yikes. The planet has enough desert already.

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 18, 2014

      Maybe we need to start putting stock in supernatural intervention!

  4. John W. Howell
    September 18, 2014

    Great post. When I lived in Marin I asked the neighbor when it was going to stop raining (like an inch a day). He looked at his watch and said, “April.” This was January. We are having a drought as well. It’s tough.

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 18, 2014

      I can recall times when I thought the rain would never end. Hmmm. Careful what you wish for?

  5. Phillip McCollum
    September 18, 2014

    It’s getting bad out here… the mountains are usually brown around this time of year, but they seem moreso lately. Maybe it’s just perception. But either way, we need some agua, andale!

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 18, 2014

      Reminds me of that old song: Water, cool, clear water… (water!).

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