Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Quiet Water Arrives

In the night, the dogs wake us. Just outside our bedroom window there are men in the pecan orchard with flashlights. The quietly flowing irrigation water is here; water moving silently without the noisy groundwater well pumps we have gotten used to in these drought years.

This year's irrigation allocation started its journey a week and a half ago when released from the Elephant Butte Dam upstream. It has made its way down the state through the dry bed of the Rio Grande, branching off into canals and ditches to the gates that let it into fields and orchards.

The water comes to the farmers when the Elephant Butte Irrigation District (known around here as EBID--the initials; or spoken as a word--Ebid) schedules it, thus the voices at three in the morning. They are checking to see that the water has gotten to the farthest reaches of this orchard before moving to the next.

The soft Spanish voices call out to each other that the orchard is full. They carefully step across the slick flooded clay and drive off quietly in their pickup truck to close one orchard's gate and open another.

 The thirsty spadefoot toads begin their joyous songs.


At dawn, the toads are quiet; if you turn up your volume you can mostly hear doves and roosters waking with the day.