This year's Blog Action Day, an annual event held every October 15th, is focused on water issues. When I looked on Thursday, there were 4157 blogs signed up to write about the same issue--water. This year, 131 countries are represented, with an estimated 31,949,913 daily readers of those blogs.
Be sure to visit Blog Action Day 2010 and click on "participants" to see other blog entries. I am sure that many of them will be about technical or environmental issues regarding water. The last time I wrote on water for a blog action day (Ogallala Aquifer in 2007) I had to do a lot of research and felt a bit outside of my comfort zone. This time I just want to write about how I feel about water, living in the desert as I do.
When I first came to live in this part of the Chihuahuan Desert, I brought with me lots of warnings that I had read in books and on the Internet: Carry water with you wherever you go, bring two Chapsticks (one for your lips and one for inside your nose--yes, it's true, those nose goblins can be painful), and remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Even so, I wasn't used to the constant need for water in the dry climate of New Mexico when we arrived here from New Hampshire. On our first trip here, Beez and I went out for a morning of exploration in Albuquerque's Old Town. We forgot to carry water that day and found ourselves begging shopkeepers to sell us just a drink of water. We just couldn't get enough water inside of ourselves. They say if you are already feeling thirsty, you are too late and are dehydrated. I know what "they" mean now.
Over the years, we have learned to keep ourselves hydrated by constantly chugging water. We bought a nice big refrigerated cooler for the kitchen. We have recycled bottles of home-filtered water in the fridge all the time. It is second nature to bring along water wherever we go, both for us and for our dogs. When in a restaurant, we order a big glass of iced tea and a big glass of ice water.
I am not a mall shopper, but when we first visited New Mexico we wanted to see everything. We went through the doors of a big mall, heard the sound of trickling water, and were immediately drawn to the fountain. It was a funny experience. We felt a little dazed and almost that we had arrived there without a conscious decision. Such is the magic of water--any water--here in the desert.
One of my favorite places to visit is Dripping Springs, located in the Organ Mountains above Las Cruces. It is an incredible spot--rugged igneous mountains, lush meadows (at least they are lush this year because of abundant summer rains) with antelope and deer scampering about, and a panoramic view back toward the city and the Mesilla Valley.
At the Dripping Springs Visitor Center, there is a garden that highlights native flowering plants and trees. It also features a tiny pond with a recirculating waterfall. You guessed it--that is what draws us in, every time. Without even realizing what is happening, we find ourselves moving closer and closer to that sound of trickling water.
And once we are standing near our heart's desire--the sight and sound of that wonderful water, so rare in a dry climate--we read the sign that has been put there for our benefit. That is the moment when we remember that humans are not the only ones drawn to the sound of that cool, trickling, refreshing water.