Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Money's falling out of the sky!

It's January here in Texas and it hasn't rained for maybe 3 weeks or so. On Friday my husband reported to me the statistical chances of rain, along with how much was expected,  for the start of this week. Over the weekend he hastened to insert a gutter filter on either end of our collection guttering and at midnight last night he made good and sure to empty our clean-outs; the final steps of preparation in order to ensure good clean rainwater collection. So this morning at 8am (the exact predicted time) we wait. Nothing.

It's a funny thing for me, waiting eagerly for the heavens to open. I'm trained to hate the rain and it's limiting powers:

"Rain rain go away, come again another day!''

I'm from West Yorkshire, England, and if I had to pick a colour to best describe Yorkshire it would be grey. No matter that the fields and trees are green, and most of the houses are red. The streets are grey, and the sky is nearly always grey. The weather makes or breaks the days in Yorkshire. With a dull sky you can't see the green. Instead everything becomes a patina of grey. Then there's the rain that comes with the grey. Yorkshire becomes a murky grey blur in the rain.

But on the rarest of occasions, the sky brightens and a meteorological phenomenon breaks through the clouds, illuminating the landscape. The countryside is then more gorgeous than anywhere on Earth. The seaside is a wonderful yellow and blue and it's so great to be out and about in the glorious sunshine. For one day (if you're lucky). Then it's back to the grey.

It's grey this morning in Texas. But instead of the Seasonal Affective Disorder that the Yorkshire grey brings, this grey is a relief to see. The blinding sun is taking a short break and the air feels fresh and cool. At just after 9am I hear the tinny sound of water on metal overhead and I'm happy. But I'm also nervous. It's that feeling you get when you want something so badly that it's hard to sit back and enjoy it when it looks like it's coming your way - my fingers are crossed and I hold my breath. I don't want it to go away.

The pitter-patter is not that loud. A good rain will deliciously reverberate the whole house. It's a joy to hear but the real pleasure is in knowing that our extension roof water is all flowing down to a single gutter, on it's way to a 2500 gallon tank, begging to be filled to the brim.

We finally got our system connected at the end of last summer, and since then it has rained only a handful of times. We got our first break - a hard rain- in November and since then we've had sufficient sprinkles to keep us afloat. Free water! Rain becomes a commodity when it is such a rarity and I now understand what it truly means to take something for granted. Today our tank is close to empty, in spite of our aggressive conservation efforts. If this rain doesn't deliver we will have to purchase this month's water and hope it will tide us over until the next rain.

Our sand pad was set-up with space for five additional tanks, and our cabin was re-roofed with metal (a rainwater collect-able material) last fall, but not guttered yet. It's been a process, and we plan to add more tanks and more guttering inside a year. This will take us further through the Texas droughts on fewer rains and possibly permit more exorbitant bathing, and provide the chance to have a garden (I mean flowers not just veg)...

I think the rain has stopped again. I keep taking a break from my blog to go stand at the window and will more to come. My glass has been half full since we hooked up the system in November, and I usually can't help but smile as I hear the 'kerching' of water falling onto our extension roof. This morning, however, as I look out from the cabin, longing for more rain, I see the uncollected cabin roof water flooding the dirt below, and I'm saddened to watch the gift of money falling out of the sky as it so carelessly washes away.

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