What a weird summer it’s been. Everything seemed a bubble off plumb, from the weather and politics to vacations, water supplies and day-to-day living, not to mention the condition of our world, which appears to be imploding before our very eyes.
Everything seems so uncertain, teetering on our very own chaos-theory tipping points.
On the upside, some friends have said our usually foggy North Coast summer has had the most spectacularly beautiful weather in recent memory, with day after day of sparkling sunshine, frosted with occasional low clouds to remind us of normal, whatever that is.
While the weather’s been incredible for picnicking, riding bicycles, watching humpback whales, gliding over the surf or walking on boardwalks, the drought’s been hellacious for our forests, gardens and various body parts.
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Everything’s parched, including our dispositions. To conserve municipal drinking water supplies, many of us are paying for and hauling in nondrinkable water from Clyde Warren’s ranch wells. We’re all praying that both supplies hold up until the rains arrive. If they don’t uncertainty reigns supreme.
But getting the water to our homesteads is only half the problem. Getting it to where we need to use it is the real pain in the back, shoulders, wrists and other body parts. Local physicians and chiropractors report that an increasing number of patients are complaining of repetitive-motion injuries, likely from carrying heavy buckets of water hither, thither and yon.
This morning, I lugged shower water to some of our plants, including a lovely 14-foot-tall bay laurel. The thirsty tree is flanked by a tall, vine-covered fence and a recirculating pond in the cozy space we’ve dubbed the “Zen Garden.”
To get to the bay tree, I had to wriggle through a narrow, uneven space between the fence, other plantings and the pond’s rocky ledges.
It’s like being a blindfolded tight-rope walker with the hiccoughs and one leg in a cast.
At my destination, I had to twist into the proper position to toss the water onto the tree’s roots.
One hand on the bucket handle and one on the bottom didn’t leave anything with which to balance my own substantial self, which was wobbling like a teeter-totter in a high wind because I had one foot on the only flat space (very small) and the other on the stacked-rock, raised edge of the pond. Plus, I had to toss the water around a corner, while stooping low under the tree’s branches.
I am not a contortionist.
“One, two, three, hop, swing! Splash! Eeek! Urg! *&(^^*&%^$#. That’s cold!!”
I got more on me than I did on the tree. Grumble, mumble and swear.
Meanwhile, the local politics of water has been heating up, with battle lines forming around different viewpoints, as usual. While most people share the same concerns — having enough water to supply residents, visitors and commerce while protecting native critters and their environments — opinions vary drastically about how to solve those problems and how much really is “enough.”
The outcome is uncertain, for sure.
A caregiver’s role
Our vacations, too, have been strange because we haven’t gone anywhere. Husband Richard is still recovering from his stroke. While his progress continues to astonish his therapists, he’s not yet resilient enough to leave home for even a few days.
Yes, I’m a full-time caregiver now, with a day job, too, which creates an interesting juggling act.
I should know what I’m doing: I’ve been a caregiver most of my life, in one way or another. After all, isn’t a mother the ultimate caregiver? Plus, I tended my own mother off and on throughout my life and hers, and Husband Richard through various medical traumas and surgeries.
But I absolutely wasn’t prepared for how different it is to be responsible for a recovering stroke patient, and the finality of knowing that things probably will never go back to being as they were before. We won’t know for another year or so, if then, what our new norm will be. That’s an absolute uncertainty.
Half a bubble off plumb? Yes, life’s a little cattywampus now.
But it’s amazing how satisfying it is, including on a staycation in the bright sunshine of a North Coast summer, especially when you’re absolutely certain you’re sharing it all with the right person.