The issue of drought is a sensitive one to me. Having been born and spending a lot of time in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, I know what drought is, and I know what the effects can be.
One summer, when I was at the farm with my aunt and uncle, it was very dry. And I mean dry. People here in Ontario have had drought (we're in the middle of one now) but they don't know real drought until they've been in the arid temps of southwestern Manitoba. Perhaps those folks don't know drought as much as some of the southwestern states.
That summer, the typical activity after the noon meal was to go outside and look at the sky. Clouds would indeed be building. We would be expectant as we saw them collecting above us overhead and on the open horizon. My aunt and I would be in the garden, looking up hopefully, wondering if we should water or wait. By early evening, the sky would be brilliant and clear, and the ground dry. Good thing we watered.
My aunt and uncle live on a patch of land that is moving from loam to sandy soil. Theirs is quite sandy in the yard, but better in the surrounding fields. I remember as a child walking that short distance between my grandparents' house and my uncle's house, just up the laneway, watching the ants coming up everywhere from their holes. That sandy soil actually saved my aunt and uncle them a year ago when others were flooded completely, and not even able to get on their land that summer. My aunt and uncle were lucky in that respect, but it was always very dry there. The grasshoppers would fly up around me as I walked through the crunching grass. Their dog, Louie, would come through the field behind the house and the hoppers would be flying about him like a cloud.
Yes, I'm sensitive about drought.
The farmers here where I live are nervous. The corn may not produce. The fruit growers are already in a bad way. An early warm spell in March followed by a late frost ruined the cherry crop and will adversely affect the apples. Yes, this will mean that apples will be expensive this fall. Not only that, it means a business will have suffered. Suffering businesses mean struggling economic times for employees, who are also consumers in this community. It's a trickle down effect.
I always cringe when I hear the joyous reports of the local radio station, extolling this wonderful summer beach weather. The radio personalities are so happy that all of those poor people who are locked in their offices all week can play in the sunshine all weekend. The guys in the offices who enjoyed the beach all summer may not be very happy when they are paying more in the grocery store.
The farmers want rain. They need rain. It's easy to tell when the feed corn is suffering. The green shoots stand straight up, poky and sharp-looking, as if they are trying to reach to the clouds in search of a drink. That is a bad sign.
The grocery store doesn't just make food with a replicator, a la Star Trek. It gets it from somewhere. We all suffer hardship when there is drought. I'm praying for rain. Yes, my lawn is dying, but more importantly, someone out there is going to suffer a hardship because of this drought.
Yes, I'm praying for rain.