Saturday, February 26, 2005

Singin' In the Rain ...

It's hard to get too upset over the precipitation we've been having in West Texas lately. Unusually wet for this time of year, meteorologists tell us ... that's fine by me.

That's because, for so long, it was unusually dry for this time of year, or any other time, or any other year ... even for the arid northern reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert where we live and work.

How bad did it get? Talk to some of the oldtimers who kept ranches and farms back in the 50s. The drought West Texas endured half-a-century ago was the standard by which all droughts were compared. When some third-generation rancher in Pecos County told me a few years ago, that the drought of the late 90s was worse than he had experienced in the 50s, I took notice.

So, have we climbed out of the latest drought? No ... at least, not yet. West Texas still has to play some catch-up in order to regain some of what was lost. Will new private ventures to start 'mining' West Texas water have an impact on local recovery efforts? It's a question worth asking, and the answer would be worth considering.

In the meantime, there's something to be said for relaxing in the den, listening to the sound of rainfall coming through an open window. And it's hard overlook the effects of rain water (still soft) on the grass ... and it's free.

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