Saturday, December 11, 2021 (December’s fullest moon [“Cold Moon”] rises on the 18th.)
According to weather experts, this week the lower Cascades will receive snow. In this east-side foothills community with a great need for snow, we’re witnessing minimal falling flakes. Most locals, including we not into snow sports, are hoping for snow. Our inland city is surrounded by agricultural areas. We need annual healthy melt-offs to meet the water needs.
I moved here sixteen years ago, in the days that annual heavy snowfalls stopped traffic. Through winters folks stayed busy shoveling and snow-blowing. Local ski areas were big ticket destinations, remaining busy through their operating seasons.
This was/is a “winter town”.
The past few years have offered warmer winters with little (if any, to speak of) snow. Decreasing annual snow-melting makes water scarcity a major topic. Toward the end of last spring, many of Oregon’s natural lakes had very low water levels. Resident mature fish were so endangered that wildlife authorities began allowing unlicensed fishing.
Recently, a couple checking out through my register in the feed store where I work described themselves as “intrepid fishers”. They described fishing last season from water-starved lakes, said their catches didn’t taste good. It seemed their caught fish already had been suffering. The pair doesn’t expect to fish this year. There’s a low possibility of water levels regaining decency.
I ask people checking out their thoughts about water levels and possible snow. The long-time locals are worried, many newcomers not so much. Those newcomers will learn. The history of settlement in Central Oregon is all about this area’s mountains, trees, and water.
On moving here I cared little about water needs, a common discussion topic. I’m not a snow sports person and tended to ignore water worries. Now having learned some economics of water availability, I greatly wish for snow.
This community is horsey. I have horses, they’re my sport, and horses need hay. Current water conservation efforts allowing farmers limited supplies of water, means less watering and reduced viable yields. Hay consumers are facing skywards-driving costs, which won’t lessen unless snow falls, and lots of it.
Regardless of an individual’s sport preferences, and/or intellectual interests, or how long one has lived locally. We’ll all be forced to understand how, and from where, we receive water. We’re starting to understand how badly, and soon, we need lots more of “the how”.
Let it snow!
Dear Friends: I wish to have lived in “this perfect area” a hundred years ago. Diana