Drouth puts kabosh on plans for an ark

Drouth puts kabosh on plans for an ark By Bob Karolevitz I hope that by the time you read this, the rains will have come.

Although I'm a confirmed optimist and believer in miracles, I've finally had to admit that our little section of South Dakota is dust-deep in drouth.

We haven't had a good downpour in months; and after an open winter, our cup runneth under. I even started singing the old song of the 1930s which went:

It ain't gonna rain

no more, no more.

It ain't gonna rain no more.

How in the heck will

I wash my neck

If it ain't gonna rain no more?

I tried to teach that little dirge to our almost-eight grandson Sam, but he cut me off by saying that his other grandpa � who also grew up in the Dirty Thirties � had already taught him that.

Granted, we're not Gobi-like yet, but lawns have an August hue, and the corn in one of our neighbor's fields is rolling up like parchment scrolls. Even Phyllis's hollyhocks look droopy.

There's an old one-liner that goes: "In biblical times when it rained 40 days and 40 nights, South Dakota got forty hundreths of an inch." I trust we're not in for a repeat of that ancient dry spell.

We drove down into Iowa last week, and parts of it are even worse. Their soybeans � the ones that germinated � are shriveled up, and farmers down there don't know how to cope with it. They've always had moisture to spare, so this has hit them worse than high gas prices (about which I'm going to say no more).

At least we haven't seen any Depression era dust storms like the kind that piled up silt-like dirt along the roadways, often fence-post high. We had tumbleweeds in the ditches in those days instead of brome grass. The latter makes a big difference.

There are a lot of scientific explanations for the lack of rain, and we read about them every day. Climatologists � who ever they are? � tell us about El Nino, global warming and jet streams, which I guess we didn't have back when all we had were New Deal initials, none of which brought rain. We just looked up at the sky and prayed. There was no Doppler Radar to tell us what we didn't want to hear.

In recent weeks we've had lots of "scattered showers" in the forecasts, but they keep missing us. Then we hear about the soaking somebody else got while we stay bone dry.

"Maybe we're not living right," Phyllis says, as she tries to find an answer for our rainlessness. Sackcloth and ashes or a novena might help, but I'm counting on Divine Providence to give us relief in due time without our pleading. After all, it's not quite desperate yet.

Oh, I suppose the farmers in our area are beginning to worry. They've got too much invested in seeds, gas, fertilizer and field work to see it all go down the tube. City folks just fuss about their browning lawns, but farmers have a lot more to lose.

But now I'm getting preachy!

I'm thinking of trading my rain gauge for something useful. We've also got umbrellas that don't know what water is. Maybe if we got rid of them, we'd bring on a cloudburst.

In the meantime, though, I'll go out and look at the sky, hoping that this time the clouds won't pass us by. I might just pray a bit, too.

One thing is certain. I won't be building an ark any time soon!

© 2000 Robert F. Karolevitz

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