June 17

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

 

The weather forecast kept talking about “much needed rain.”

It still hasn’t come.

Your neighbors treated the initial drought warnings as a joke.  The guidelines were impossible to enforce — and they were deemed unnecessary, too, since water was always readily available.  Deserts existed in other parts of the world, not here.  All anyone needed to do was turn a tap for a long shower, twist the wheel handle to an outside sprinkler to ensure the lawn stayed a rich green all summer long.

The doomsayers on the evening news weren’t right.  Local reservoirs wouldn’t really run out.  In all life, as they say, a little rain must fall.

But it didn’t.

Faucets slowed to a trickle. Lawns faded to dry brown patches.

Clouds of dust and dirt blew through town on hot gusts, and the air itself grew dry.

Your lips are cracked.  It hurts to swallow.

You pray for relief.  In answer, a raindrop patter dances on the roof of your house; clicks like heavy droplets tap at the windowpanes.

Parched, you run outside, lean back your head, and open your mouth to the skies.

Your mouth fills with suffocating sand.