Monday, October 31, 2005

RETAINING WATER.




It may come as a shock to people living in northern Spain's Ireland-like Asturias region, but much of Spain has been suffering a nasty drought lately. Things have been especially parched here in Guadalajara—a province whose “How I spent my Summer Vacation” essay would need only two words: “On fire!”

Local officials in my hometown of Cabanillas del Campo have spent many a disturbed coffee-break pondering drought-related issues. The first indication of a looming crisis appeared last June. That’s when City Hall distributed an urgent message advising that municipal water supplies had dropped to a lowly 38% of capacity and pleading that citizens conserve water whenever possible. Suggestions included tightening drippy faucets, running dishwashers only when full and turning off the shower while lathering and shampooing.

I took this plea to heart, and then took it a step further by making the greatest sacrifice that a male of our species can make: I stopped watering my lawn.

This was a painful decision, yet an easy one. A beautiful garden, I reasoned, is clearly less important than assuring an ample supply of drinking water for the children of Cabanillas. Besides, an unwatered lawn is a lawn that won’t grow—and I’ll admit that the prospect of locking-away my lawn mower until Spring 2006 had a certain selfish appeal.

Well…my lawn quickly turned a deep shade of straw-yellow, and took on such a texture that only a well-trained Yogi would dare attempt to cross it with bare feet.

I couldn’t help noticing, however, that the squishy feelings of civic responsibility to which I’d fallen prey had not yet infected any of my neighbors. Indeed, a quick survey of the neighborhood established that mine was the *only* house sporting yellow grass. Everyone else’s lawn fell into one of two categories: (a) lush and green, or (b) buried under six inches of concrete—this latter category being a peculiarly Spanish phenomenon that I’ve not encountered elsewhere…except, perhaps, certain dangerous sections of The Bronx.

Still, I didn’t care. My yard looked like hell, but I wore it as a badge of honor.

Besides, I was quite enjoying the drought. I had, after all, spent thirty-two years living in lousy climates before moving to Spain in 1999 and as a result, eleven months of uninterrupted sunshine ranked pretty low on my “Personal Registry of Misery & Human Hardships.”

But alas, the dry-spell ended two weeks ago and Cabanillas received its first meaningful rainfall since November 2004. And when that first raindrop fell, something odd happened. I felt…excited. For the first time in my life, I actually felt *excited* about a rainy day. It was new! It was different! It was a change of pace! I could finally pull my red, flannel, lumberjack shirt from the closet. I could finally go jogging without the threat of acute sunstroke. And best of all…the air no longer smelled like dry-roasted dog poo.

Yes my friends…I was excited!

And then, twenty minutes later, the excitement passed. The rains, however, did not. They’ve continued (on and off) for more than a week, and my grass is already showing disturbing signs that my lawn mower’s retirement will be short-lived.

Perhaps I prayed too hard for rain. The next time I have an urge to dress like a lumberjack in the midst of a drought, I’ll just hop in my car and drive to Asturias.

7 Comments:

At 3:45 PM, Blogger ironporer said...

You must live in luxury there Sal- I can not ever remember any house with grass in my years over there- other than those 'chalets' out in the country where people of great wealth lived. In fact that was my biggest beef with Spain- pisos. I kind of had a love/hate relationship with pisos- understanding that due to them, there was sufficient population density to have mercadillos, carniceros and the like all within a 5 minute wals of home...along with the requisite 20 bars/cafes and all the sidewalks. Now, I have traded a nice plush lawn and a single home for a life where we must drive 15 minutes to whichever super store we care to go to. I am convinced that 'in the year 2525" Americans will no longer have legs for walking at all- just these spindly attachments that are used for pushing the accelerator and brake pedal.

Hope the rain lets up a bit...so you can bitch a little about having to mow the grass 3 times a week!

 
At 8:36 PM, Blogger Sri Yantra said...

Hey All,

Since I am obsessed with Tapas and love everything about them, I started a search engine on just Tapas! Check it out and tell me what you think!

http://www.mytapas.com

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger christina said...

Well you are to be commended for being a concerned citizen. Our friends in Spain have one of those fetching concrete lawns - no water worries for them.

And now thanks to you I'm going to have "The Lumberjack Song" buzzing around in my brain all night! :-)

 
At 2:15 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Iron Man:
Luxury? Yes and no. I do have a yard, but not because I'm rich. Houses with 3-4 bedrooms and a yard in the Guadalajara suburbs costs the same as a 90 m2 piso in Madrid. Location, location, location, by Q-eating friend.

----------

Christina:
This one's for you!

FERNANDO (by ABBA)

Can you hear the drums fernando?
I remember long ago another starry night like this
In the firelight fernando
You were humming to yourself and softly strumming your guitar
I could hear the distant drums
And sounds of bugle calls were coming from afar

They were closer now fernando
Every hour every minute seemed to last eternally
I was so afraid fernando
We were young and full of life and none of us prepared to die
And I’m not ashamed to say
The roar of guns and cannons almost made me cry

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, fernando
Though I never thought that we could lose
There’s no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, fernando

Now we’re old and grey fernando
And since many years I haven’t seen a rifle in your hand
Can you hear the drums fernando?
Do you still recall the frightful night we crossed the rio grande?
I can see it in your eyes
How proud you were to fight for freedom in this land

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, fernando
Though I never thought that we could lose
There’s no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, fernando

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, fernando
Though I never thought that we could lose
There’s no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, fernando
Yes, if I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, fernando...

 
At 9:15 PM, Blogger christina said...

Nooooooooooooo!

 
At 12:55 AM, Blogger Culinary Fool said...

Fine, you didn't just get Christina, Fernando, you got all of us!!

We actually had drought here in the lovely NW last winter, too. My little webbed-feet were drying out! And even worse - there was no ski season. Only those diehards with rock skis were out there.

I am happy to report that our winter is getting back to normal - although it hasn't been that wet yet. And, AMAZINGLY, several ski resorts are opening this weekend! Woo Hoo! I think this is the earliest opening ever. I'm thinking of heading up on Saturday - just because I can! :-)
~ B

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Culinary Fool (and Christina):

I...I...I just can't help myself!

I'M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY
(by Donnie and Marie Osmond)

Girl: I'm a little bit country
Boy : I'm a little bit rock n roll
Girl: I'm a little bit Memphis & Nashville
Boy : With a little bit of motown in my soul
Girl: I don't know it's good or bad
Boy : I know I love it so
Girl: I'm a little bit country
Boy : I'm a little bit rock n roll
Girl: He's a little bit gentle
He's a little bit running wild
Boy : She's a little bit full grown woman
She's a little bit of motown
I don't know about happy or sad
Girl: My music makes me whole
I'm little bit country
Boy : I'm a little bit rock n roll
Girl: I like that peaceful easy feeling of
lay back country song
Boy : And when I sing my rock n roll
I'll sing it whole night long
Girl: I love my country with all my heart and soul
Boy : I'll go out on Saturday night for a
little bit rock n roll
Girl: I know I don't feel alright
Boy : No matter where I go
Girl: With a little bit country
Boy : And a little bit rock n roll

 

Post a Comment

<< Home