Sometimes, You Get What You Ask For

Convective precipitation
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Drought is a good thing, if you squint and hold your eyes just right. Moreso than the excesses of wind, water, snow or ice, the absolute lack of something so badly needed makes us (or should make us) appreciate our dependence, depending on your mindset, upon the vagaries of fickle nature (that most now acknowledge our own species is impacting with increasing visibility and consequence) or a God that rains on the just and the unjust alike. Or on neither.

What those of us in Floyd County and a large swath of southwest Virginia have been hoping-asking-praying for was that our water tables (if too late for our gardens) could get a generous soaking of rain metered out maybe an inch or inch and a half a day, over the course of several–a rainfall that would soak the dry earth thoroughly, and beyond that, send the excess not into creeks and the Little River (or Roanoke at our end of the county) but into that invisible system of irregular fissures in bedrock from which almost all in this county draw their water.

I just came back from the garden, where more rain has fallen in the past three days than in the previous two months or maybe more. Our gauge measures up to five inches. I poured out a bit more than that–into the soaked garden soil that will have a greater chance now of getting back some of this week’s rain in the garden hose-creek pump arrangement we’ll use again come next July when we’ll likely once again miss the water.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Mornin’, Fred!
    We don’t have a garden, but we do have an acre of lawn. Hopefully, this rain will help to change the dull brown back to green.
    I wrote an article on the 6th just before the rain showed up and another will be published tomorrow on the 8th.