late, the weather in Southern California has been rather exciting. Yes, I know
that statement will have the rest of the country laughing, but it certainly
seems true to those of us who live here. Three months ago, we were beset by
wildfires of truly epic proportions. One month ago, my son had to delay a visit
home, because the road was closed by snow. Shortly thereafter, the rainwater on
my street was six inches deep, and windstorms left me without power. Yesterday
it was eighty-five degrees with a gentle breeze.
Floods in the desert? Oh my yes, flood rains are the norm here. I live only a
short drive from a flood basin which was featured in news stories a few years
ago, because the pictures of folks standing on top of their cars whist waiting
for rescue were so striking.
Contrasted with our annual downpours, are the stories of our legendary battles
for water, one of which was fictionalized in the film Chinatown. This is a
thirsty land, heavily settled, with large agricultural areas. Most of our water
is imported from other areas, and we have experienced rationing during times of
drought. I was born here, and have been taught to practice water conservation
since early childhood. To a native Angeleno, a dripping faucet is a sin against
the whole community.
There is, however, something which has always puzzled me about our situation. We
have no reservoirs to capture rainwater. For weeks after the annual downpours,
our famous beaches are too contaminated to use, because runoff overwhelms the
sewage processing plants that are supposed to empty clean water into the ocean.
The Los Angeles River channels all our rain out to sea.
I don't pretend to understand our monumental waste of such an important
resource. The politics involved are too complex. We have a legitimate need to
import water, but could provide some of it by means of saving what comes to us
Why do people ignore what they have at home?
That question is why I chose to write about this topic for an issue which will
be published on Valentine's Day. This is the time of year when love is the theme
for almost everyone. There are gifts and messages of love for sweethearts,
schoolchildren, and relatives: you can even spy hearts and cupids in business
offices. There are also plenty of folks feeling sad and lonely, too often by
Yes, I said choice. Perhaps they choose to bemoan not having ideal romances,
although they might still be able to enjoy pleasant companionship, were they
willing. Many will ignore the possibility of a fun lunch with friends, because
they are too preoccupied with what they don't have in the way of an amorous
evening. Others will not think to plan an activity with an elderly relative or
child who would enjoy an outing, and surely reciprocate the affection involved
with planning a special time. Alas, there are even those who will decide there
is nothing special about yet another dinner with their spouses.
Love has many forms, all of them wonderful. The most precious bouquet I ever
received was dandelions clutched in my little son's fist. Smile as you walk down
the street, and enjoy the gladness which will be returned. You need only step
into a greenhouse or garden to see the blossoms of G-d's love. The beauty of our
world is surely proof that love is an eternal fountain, and we need only open
our hearts to experience its beauty. Don't waste a drop.