bluebird, cedar wax wings, goldfinch

Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, Goldfinch

  cowbirds at water bowl

Female Red-Winged Blackbirds Getting a Drink

sparrow taking a ath

Sparrow Bathing

armadillo at fish pond
Armadillo Drinking at Fish Pond

Our current drought
began in the early months
of 2011.
No spring rains that year.
The Big Pond went dry
in that miserably hot and dry July.
Our biggest rain—
a three-incher—
came in November.
It filled the newly
rehabbed pond.
We had a little rain then
last spring,
but nothing near our normal amount.
The Big Pond is not dry,
but it is terribly low.
The water pump that gets water
to our gardens
is above water level,
and useless.
We didn’t get a big rain
this November
(one-tenth-inch here,
one-fourth-inch there.)
There is enough water
for the Canada Geese,
who have arrived,
to swim.
Many farm ponds
are dry or very low.
Farmers are, again this fall,
hauling water to cattle.
I have put out more water
than birdseed this year
for the wild birds.
I top off the bowls
twice a day.
The Hackberry berries
and Cedar berries are thick on the trees
and birds are eating them.
But water is scarce.
The birds spend much more time
drinking
than eating the birdseed I do put out.
Armadillo,
who is arating my new garden plot
and my yard,
comes to the fish pond to drink.

Forecasters see no sustained break
in the drought
for the foreseeable future.
Gary McManus,
a climatologist for Oklahoma’s Mesonet,
quotes someone (he’s not sure who said it)
saying “Don’t expect rain in a drought.”
Sounds kind of funny.
Sounds kind of hopeless,
and feeling hopeless is out of fashion these days.
Sounds kind of realistic
to me—
and inspiring.
Facing the facts of a drought
spurs us to action,
or “active hope,” as Joanna Macy would say.
Being able to stand in the drought,
and see it for what it is
inspires us to think about
and make plans for
how we’re going to help all thrive
in a drier place.

morning at pond with geese
Canada Geese on the Big Pond