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The Generosity of Water

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Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 4:00 pm

I have always been attracted to the linear oases of streams and rivers in the arid Southwest. As a native Southern Californian who grew up beside a tiny stream — a rarity in San Diego County.  Our little family stream was, in fact, seepage from a riprap reservoir where Colorado River water was stored, and so it was in effect a distant extension of the Colorado itself. No wonder, then, that I eventually ended up settling next to the Rio Embudo in Northern New Mexico. And no wonder that I was to spend the next 40 years deriving much of my livelihood from its waters as a market farmer.

Water is often about expectation. In the eastern U.S., one is frequently waiting for rain or snow to stop, for the floods to come, for waters to subside. In the West, one is always waiting for it to start raining or snowing, waiting for the arroyos to fill, waiting for the streams and rivers to return to "normal," and in the spring, waiting for the acequias to start running again.

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