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Monday, September 19, 2011

Random thoughts from a random mind

I apologize in advance, Gentle Reader: I am reporting some random thoughts this week. Bear with me, please.
* * *
Although it's been difficult, I've been trying to find something positive to say (at least to myself) about our extended drought.
From a history perspective, it has allowed me to do some exploring. With the river down, some usually-hidden features are visible. I spent a little bit of time last week below the Starbucks on Junction Highway searching for any sign of the old Starkey/Saner Mill which was somewhere near there. I can't say I was successful, but it did give me a chance to look. The mill, or any traces of it, would probably be closer to the river's original channel which is still (thankfully) submerged beneath the green waters of the Guadalupe. I did find some cut limestone blocks, but I'm not sure what they were used for.
This weekend I plan to make other explorations along the river, and up Town Creek, hoping to find the answers to some of my persistent history questions.
Another benefit of our drought, I suppose, is how it is bringing awareness of how precious a resource water is to us. Before we slipped into Stage 4 water restrictions, I had been using an old sprinkler to keep a few trees alive. Many mornings I'd be out in the backyard sipping coffee while the sprinkler ran. I teased Ms. Carolyn that I'd put in a "water feature."  I would let the sprinkler run for the amount of time it takes to drink a cup (or two) of coffee.
Then, during the last nice shower we had at the house, the one that came in the early morning hours, I stood by the window looking outside. I couldn't help but compare the amount of water falling freely from the sky to the paltry amount I'd watch come through the sprinkler during coffee. "Man, that's a lot of water," I thought, watching the raindrops fall. A lot of "free" water that's actually better for my yard than the treated water from the City.
The weather has also finally motivated me to read Elmer Kelton's classic novel about Texas, "The Time it Never Rained."  I've put it off for many years, though I shouldn't have. It's a good read and I can really feel for the characters as they each face the tightening lasso of drought. I saw some copies down at Wolfmueller's Books the other day, and I heartily recommend the book.
* * *
The hardest part of getting older is trusting the future to all these youngsters.
I turned 50 this year, which had more of a change on me than I care to admit. For many years I was the youngest person on most of the committees, boards, and councils on which I served. Now, not so much. I look around me in meetings these days, and while I'm usually not the oldest person in the room, I'm usually in the "above average age" group.
The part I'm having trouble with is this: being willing to let these whippersnappers around me shape the direction of the various organizations, organizations which will be useful to them a lot longer than they will be to me from these days forward. It helps, of course, that they have so much more energy than I.
I suppose I'll make the transition gracefully enough, with time, but right now I feel like the old fellow reluctantly handing the keys to the kiddos. What do they know about the car, anyway? None of them are old enough to remember that time it got stuck in the ditch, or what we had to do to get it out.
These thoughts are probably fueled by the lack of rain, the slow browning of the hills around us.
I keep telling myself that we're one day closer to a good rain. I sure pray so.
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who does not remember so hot and dry a summer in Kerrville. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times September 17, 2011.

1 comment:

  1. As usual, I liked your article Joe. Today I liked the juxtaposition of aging and drought. Was that intended or just an accident? My years are creeping up on me too, and I when have quiet times, when the business of daily life eases back (drought?) I sometimes find myself searching back for "historical artifacts" in the river of my life's memories. There are happy discoveries and some sad. Like you and your drought, I try and find the positive.

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