I know, I did excuse myself from this Friday's Shootout, due to the fact that I have no pictures of water whatsoever stocked in my computer, no time to go out and take any, and I'm spending the day (elongated by 7 hours time difference) in planes and airports. But what's there to do in Newark Airport for four hours other than have a $11 glass of pinot grigio and mess around on the web?
So I'll just tell you about water.
I did start this blog as a writing thing, after all. Can't let the pictures take it over entirely.
Water in a way shaped my life. It was a significant part of my learning the value of things, as a listener-in of long conversations (or were they rants? did anyone else get a word in?) in my grandfather's house. He lived in Valley Center, California, a 45-minute drive north from our home in suburban San Diego. As a grower of oranges and avocados in that high desert region, migrant workers and water were the topics of choice.
The cost of water. Scandalous. Breaking the backs of hard-working men.
I heard so much about the scarcity of water and how its price was driving honest growers to ruin, that I never understood toothpaste commercials. (you can see here I've finished that glass of wine.)
Really. Every toothpaste commercial on tv, and even tv shows not particularly selling dental hygene, showed smiling, white-toothed people brushing in front of the mirror with the water running.
Why on earth run water down the sink for absolutely no reason while brushing your teeth?
We never did that in my house.
We didn't water the lawn, either. We replaced the front lawn with a field of rocks, from which we picked debris and dead leaves once a year or so in a despised, but much needed day.
And then as a teenager, driving past miles and miles of cotton fields on our way to backpacking in the mountains or along the Colorado. Absolutely horrified to learn that those farmers in the middle of the desert got their water practically free because of government subsidies sucking the river so dry that it hasn't reached the sea for decades now, and the hungry Mexicans who would like to be able to use its water to grow their own crops are just s*** out of luck. Meanwhile, poor countries desperate to sell their cotton because it's all they have, they can't get a decent price because the market is flooded with falsely cheap California product.
I bet it's still that way today.
Another load of brick in the making of a liberal.
The difference water can make was the first thing I noticed in moving to Minneapolis. What was all this green? And it stuck around all summer! Those people, they don't worry about running the faucet while brushing their teeth. They don't circle around the water bill over coffee in the evening. (Well, being Minnesotans, maybe they do.)
Nor do they where I live now in central France. The hills are green and water is everywhere. It fell from the sky in such abundance a particular week last year it ruined most of my cherry crop. Not so far south of here it's more like California - crops sucking up what there is, demanding ever more; fires racing through the hills regularly.
Water is a funny thing. Abundant here, rare just next door, existing in endless quantities just next door again but so salty as to be useless to us.
A question of distribution we have yet to solve. A question of value and price we need to address more honestly and fairly.
So that's my thing about water.