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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Water, water

I can't remember a year in which the wetlands in the woods above the house have been so continuously full and the water drains down the ditches and through the pipes to the ocean without cease. I walk along the shore and the little rivers coming off the banks never seem to dry up. They have been gurgling, sometimes loudly gargling, since spring. Below the pipe draining our own bank there are grasses and mosses and weeds as green as the height of summer. The heavy rains of June and July must have raised the water table permanently, at least for this calendar year.

I wonder if we know how blessed we are in the Northeast. Water is not yet as valuable as oil (although if you buy it in fancy bottles, it costs more) but it will be. Some say that New England's last great economic resource is its way of life. If this is true, it is due in large part to our lakes and rivers, the way rain is attracted to our hills and valleys, and to our huge, pure reservoirs as valuable as Canadian shale or West Virginia coal. We just haven't yet put a price on it.

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