Thoughts on drought

In the stranglehold of an Indian summer that continues to hang around like an unemployed relative who’s grown far too fond of the living room couch, we Northern Nevadans carry on, slogging through these savage poundings of solar-soaked 50 to 55 degree days. And it’s not just the sun, but the calm. Amazingly, our hairdos hold steadily and unbudgeably in place, without even the teeniest applications of spray or mousse, as we wallow in this bizarre string of utterly breezeless days, punctuated by a valley full of flaccid flags searching the skies in desperation for any kind of meteorological Cialis.

I’m not sure how much more of this fabulous weather we can take.

Oh sure, it’s kinda jiffy to be playing croquet in T-shirts and grilling peppers on the veranda, but venture just a smidge beneath the novelty of this glaring veneer, and I bet I’m not the only one who has an ominous feeling that somehow, this just ain’t right. In mid-December, shouldn’t we be stuck inside, doing indoor stuff like writing wills, organizing photos, channel surfing, baking Christmas goodies, brewing chowders, and pounding on treadmills while we hide ourselves away from all the wind and snow and rain and sleet that’s supposed to be kicking the snot out of mailmen? How the hell am I supposed to go through and file all the power bills and Visa statements when a bunch of nudniks are calling me every other day and dangling tee times in front of my face?

I was up at Donner Summit on Thursday the 4th, and it wasn’t pretty. On the south-facing side of I-80 (the right side of the road as you’re heading to Sacramento), the ground there looked exactly as it did in August. Not one patch, not one flake, not one quark of snow. The ground may have been slightly moist, but you would have had to dig a bit to experience actual dampness. On the other side of the highway, at Boreal Ridge, a handful of determined, pitiful skiers were quasi-schussing down exactly one half of one slope. At this point, snowpacks should be reported in metric terms, as in centimeters. Or maybe millimeters.

Certainly it’s way too early to seriously predict that The Great Western Nevada Water Panic of 2009 will have us in a dry, dusty headlock by this coming Memorial Day. After all, one week of monster blizzards can mean the difference between make or break for our beloved snowpacks. But with water in the West, like the economy, seemingly in the midst of a serious recession, who exactly can we approach, hat in hand, ala the automotive Big 3, to appeal for a big, wet, stormy bailout?

(As you read this, it will no doubt be freezing, gray, raining, and blowing. That’s because Ma Nature loves to make columnists look like jackasses when they dare to write stuff like this. So be it. Happy to help the cause, break the spell, and bring on the slop!)