Perspective from the drought

It’s been a hot and dry summer here, as it is throughout much of this country this year. In fact, I just saw on the news that about one-third of the counties in the US have been declared natural disaster areas due to drought this summer. Many more are suffering from drought conditions even if they aren’t quite that severe yet. (NPR has an interactive map showing the US drought conditions.)

I’ve been watering only the areas of my yard that have trees and shrubs because those are such a substantial investment. The grass has been completely brown for many weeks, and I’ve let that go. Watering restrictions went into effect here last week, so I can no longer water even my trees and shrubs. Most of my trees are still holding up okay (although most of the bushes and three big trees are struggling), but trees all around me are heavily shedding leaves that are coming down already brown and dried. It’s only mid-July, but I going to need to start actively raking and mulching the leaves because they are piling up quickly.

And yet, my worries about my shrubs and trees are small compared to what farmers are facing this year all over the country. Crops are failing without the rain, which produces hardship for the farmers dependent on the crops and less food produced for all of us. How do small farmers recover from years like this?

I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like in other countries that face this kind of thing. I may lose some of the plants and shrubs in my yard—maybe even a few trees. I will likely face higher food prices in the near future. But even though I’m doing my best to conserve, I still have running water every time I turn the tap for showering and washing my clothes and my dishes and for cooking and drinking. I can still buy food at the grocery store even if my tiny garden dries up. What would I do in a place where a drought like this means no water, no food, and no hope of buying any?

It’s easy for me to get caught up in focusing on the hardships in my life. Some storms came through the area today, and from what I heard from others’ reports, it sounds like multiple areas in town got quite a downpour. We did not even get enough here to get the pavement thoroughly wet. It seems to unfair. But when I put it in the perspective of that I do have, I quickly realize that I have no room at all to complain about things being unfair. How lucky I am to have been born in this country. How lucky I am to have all of the benefits of running water and enough to eat.

It’s helpful to be reminded of the importance of perspective sometimes. It reminds me of how much I have, and how much I can afford to give to those who have less. But I am still praying for rain—here and across the many parts of this country facing drought. We can use all we can get!

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