Thursday, February 26, 2009

Water

We've just returned from a week in the Los Angeles area. A few days before we arrived, Southern California had gotten deluged by storms, and we saw the aftermath: mud here and there on the roads, streets closed in Santa Barbara, green grass on lawns, lush weeds in the canyons. Usually, it seems that the chance of winter precipitation, if it's coming, is in the 20% range, and it's likely that said possible showers wouldn't even make it all the way to the ground; judging by how excited the local ABC weather guy got at 30% on Monday, he must have had a heart attack the week before last. Those of us on the ground on Monday (in the gardens of the wonderful Huntington Library) actually got a little wet - a light little ten-minute shower that dried so quickly that it might never have happened, an illusion like much of California life.

Weathermen must be looking forward to climate change. They would never be so downbeat (ratings, you know) as to mention on the California airwaves that desalinization projects may be needed, hotter, drier summers are coming, snowpacks are melting too early. I bet they're salivating, though. Weathermen are going to get a lot more airtime in the future.

Climate change predictions for Maine are rather the opposite. Things will get wetter. Poland Spring could become Poland Flood, exporting water not in bottles but in tankers.

You'll be shocked to know that this is not the only difference between the states. Fresh-squeezed orange juice; endless featureless wide sandy beaches; meeting stars (Richard Jenkins on the plane out, Tom Hanks on the Sony Pictures tour); money oozing down hills named Beverly and canyons named Laurel; robust, manly, stunning, guilt-amelioration (Getty Museum); commerce written as large and wide as the ocean - everything just right for six days of fun, and no more.

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