The drought may not be broken, but it's certainly been bent. We got 5" of rain in 24 hours--very welcome. Our little lake (about 20 acres) is full, and so is the creek. The photo here was taken about 8 hours after high tide on Pecan Creek. The water roared over the bridge in the foreground. You're looking downstream in this photo. Pecan Creek flows into the North Fork of the San Gabriel, into Lake Georgetown, and finally into the Brazos River and the Gulf. We're close (in miles) to the Highland Lakes, but on the north side of a ridge that divides the Brazos and the Lower Colorado watersheds. (Do you know your watershed? It might be important some day!)
The water levels in the lakes are coming up--I understand that the rise in Travis just from this one rain could supply Austin for a full year! But even with this amount of rain, Buchanan is only 44% full, Travis only 49% full. The water levels in the aquifer (especially in our Upper Trinity) are always a mystery, but the situation has to be somewhat improved.
This week, I've been reading galleys of Holly Blues, and take back all the nasty things I said about Word Track Changes, which my publisher now uses for copyedited manuscripts. I still don't like using it (much prefer paper/pencil) but the result is a much cleaner final product. Less work for editorial/production, and eliminates the cost of mailing (substantial, these days). Peggy posted the first chapter of the book on the website. We've also posted an interesting video that describes the brewing of yerba mate, a tea made from the holly plant.
Also this week, an interesting interview with the editor of The Herb Companion, with Vicky Uhland. We talked about the importance of knowing the herbs and food plants that are native to the places in which we live--which can also introduce us to the histories of our places. One of my favorite things to do: walk around our fields and woodlot and name, silently, to myself, the plants I recognize, honoring them, considering the many ways they've been used by humans. It's an important meditation, reminding me that we use plants so unwisely these days. We exploit their habitats (and the habitats of other species that share the space) to the point where the natives are destroyed. Caring people need to do all we can to preserve them and use them with thoughtful consideration.
As well, this week, an interview with Susan Tweit about memoir and place, especially about Together, Alone. Susan and I will be spending some time together over the next week or two. We'll be at Texas State University, the Texas Book Festival, and at a very special program hosted by Story Circle Network and open to all (yes, guys, that includes you!) The events are posted here. Come and say hi!
Reading note. We can lie to ourselves about many things; but if we lie about our relationship to the land [or to the sea, or the wetlands, or the Arctic wilderness, or global warming] the land will suffer, and soon we and all other creatures that share the land will suffer. If we persist in our ignarance or dishonesty, we will die. . . . Seeing the danger of ignorance, we may be moved to invent or recover some of the lore that connects us to the land, that tells us how to live in our place.--Scott Russell Sanders