By Ron Pickett
EXTREME DROUGHT OR CALIFORNIA DREAMING There, on the horizon, a cloud. I watch it as it moves slowly closer. I think I know clouds, all kinds of clouds. This cloud moves toward me. I see it change as it moves, it thins out, Becomes lighter, less a cloud than a wispy space in the air. It isn’t a rain cloud, I know that. However much I want it to be. I’m disappointed. It’s an extreme drought -- Just beyond my window is a copse of magnificent gum trees. The leaves and limbs move in the gentle breeze. Downwind a spray of fine oil droplets hangs in the air. It’s what gum trees do – it’s what makes them burn. It’s the price we pay for fast-growing, softwood trees and their wonderful shade. I’ve seen them burn and release their glowing embers. I’ve watched their devastation move like a living, ravenous daemon. Like a creature unleashed from a Japanese Sci-fi movie. We cover the signs of the drought with green stuff. It’s Cali and we do that here. We douse the surface with water we pump from below or bring from 500 miles away It’s Cali and that’s what we do. We live in a luxurious, verdant world of green. We are oblivious to the reality, the drought. If we can’t see it, it isn’t really happening. It’s Hollywood. So, there is no drought here, no extreme drought. The lighted sign above the Freeway flashes EXTREME DROUGHT conserve water, The edges of the freeway are green and lush and need to be mowed. The sign over the freeway continues to tell us the big lie – Extreme Drought. How can there be a drought? Everything I see is in denial, part of the deceit. It’s a scam, a con, the government can’t be trusted. Look at the Covid vaccines. I must water my shrubs when I get home. Longest in recorded history – that’s what they say. Indian tribes moved their dwellings to a new place to follow the water. We move the water to follow us. As long as there is water to move. Droughts are always followed by floods, aren’t they? We will wait for the floods. El Nino isn’t going to save us this time. His sister is in charge. One more year? Can we last for one more year? The green will lose its power to deceive in a few months and then what? Extreme Drought – conserve water! PS: The freeway signs have changed! Don’t drive drunk!
Ron Pickett is a retired naval aviator with over 250 combat missions and 500 carrier landings. His 90-plus articles have appeared in numerous publications. He enjoys writing fiction and has published five books: Perfect Crimes – I Got Away with It, Discovering Roots, Getting Published, EMPATHS, and Sixty Odd Short Stories.
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