Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Watching the sky, thinking of water

The preciousness of water is nowhere more apparent than in the desert. The air is dry, water bottles never seem to last very long, and every living thing is geared toward maximizing the resource. Last night, it rained a little bit, but by morning the sky was brilliantly clear, not a cloud in site. The ground, too, was dry. The ground, here, if not populated by cactus and tree, is sandy. (If we'd have shut our eyes during the last mile of a hike we did in JT National Park on Tuesday, we could have been walking on a beach!).  I thought maybe I'd been mistaken, then saw some holes in the sand were the water had dripped off the roof. I could be sure that ever plant in site had soaked up as much as possible.

I was very sad to read the news of birds washing up on the shores of Alameda (& Hayward & ) while I'm here in the desert. The bird sanctuaries and shores of the East Bay are what convinced me to call it home. And living on an island (albeit a little one) has brought me closer the the Bay waters than ever before. Now the Bay is my backyard, the water surface often my natural escape when I'm home in need of a little wildness, however vestigial.
I've been able to count I seeing a good number of avian life - scoters and coots, buffleheads and terns - when I venture outside. And then their are the mammals, Harbor Seals and even Bay Porpoises. The SF bay has recovered a lot of its natural history in recent years due to the efforts of groups like Save The Bay and Save Our Shores. It's also more heavily trafficked than ever, especially in recent weeks with the tankers getting backed up in anchorage as the longshoremen struck. Who knows what the cause is of this latest blight on the bay landscape, but it's a reminder how fragile things are, how even if there seems like a lot of clean water and a lot of birds, etc., the slightest disruption can be disastrous.
International Bird Rescue, one of the main organizations working on saving the contaminated birds, is looking more volunteers. If you're in the Bay Area, please consider giving them some love:

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