Fall’n into the sere, the yellow leaf

It is damned dry down here. Scary dry, drier than the desert southwest, and little to be done about it other than don't use any more water than we have to.

Maybe it’s a bit strong to compare the drought here to the plight of murderous Macbeth, but things are in a sorry state in the south. I’ve been saying Atlanta’s weather has been like southern California’s, dry and not too hot for the last several weeks. Except we don’t have desert and sagebrush and rattlesnakes here, we have pine forests and creeks and water moccasins, and possum and mosquitos and… and rain, dammit.

Well now it’s gotten scary. I had heard the drought was serious, but I hadn’t seen that map or read this article:

In the Atlanta metropolitan area, which has more than four million people, worst-case analyses show that the city’s main source of water, Lake Lanier, could be drained dry in 90 to 121 days. Drought-Stricken South Facing Tough Choices, NYTimes, 16 October 2007

This is finally serious in ways even I understand, all across the south, a slow-motion disaster that could change our way of life more profoundly than the 1998 tornadoes that blew through here, blowing down the many trees that used to make this neighborhood seem forested. It nearly blew Ellen and her dad and Jack and Will away, but the houses have been rebuilt, the stumps and wrack have grown over, and it’s hard to find a trace now. Who knows how this drought will change things? Will we become more like the inland scrub of the southwest? Politically, Georgia is already too much like Texas – will our climate come to match theirs? Oof. Will the fights for water escalate, will Tennessee and Alabama and the Carolinas find ways to keep it from flowing to Georgia? They might. They’re hard hit too. Things will change one way or the other.

So what can our family do here in our corner of the south? I have scarcely ever watered my lawn, so I can’t cut back there; the garden’s nearly dead and hasn’t been watered in weeks; we don’t wash our cars (we buy them with exterior colors that don’t show the dirt); we don’t have a pool or pond or even a birdbath. (Although I may add one; the feathered ones are parched too.) We’ll just have to wash our clothes and dishes and selves in less water to do our part.