Water Closet for August 28, 2015
[pullquote]”We old timers wish for teachers who would take them out doors, hand held electronic devices left inside, and there learn the local trees, birds, bugs, and more importantly each other”[/pullquote].On Friday morning as predicted showers came, heavy at times, Council on Aging /Conservation Commission walkers with the exception of three, stayed home so missed a fine cleansing three mile hike in the warm saturated air around Middleton Pond. Sandy Rubchinuk, president of the Middleton Stream Team, walked without a rain hood or hat. The rain shed off her burnished copper colored hair. Ron LaBonte of Beverly, a first timer on the Friday hike, was not bothered at all by even the now and then downpours. He hikes with the Harold Parker State Forest Wednesday group that shows up rain or shine. The old Closeteer, who earlier in the morning had changed the route from the heavily vegetated Ipswich River floodplain to the paths and roads around the pond, and who had not hiked in a good rain for some time much enjoyed the soaking in precious water. He wished some was falling on the fires raging out west. Sweat from within had water at almost similar concentrations on both sides of his cheap slicker. Probably all would have been physically happier with nothing but skin on. No doubt there are puritanical rules against such displays on public paths. Anyway, don’t be fearful of such shocking encounters with old timers on our Friday trails.
The Closeteer fondly remembers a summer rain when he and friends were under ten. It was during WWII when Flying Fortresses flew over his family’s farm en route to Gander, Newfoundland, and then on to air bases in beleaguered England. Upon feeling the first drops from a thunder storm one little lad pulled off his clothes. His companions gleefully followed and pranced happily yelling around the yard as the shower increased. When the Closeteer tells this tale he says he can feel the cooling drops as if yesterday. Hearing the celebration probably as ancient as clothed man, his mother ran from the house half laughing, yet looking somewhat alarmed. She ordered the flock back into clothes. What would the neighbors, although none nearby, think?
Cars, buildings, and clothes, ten times what is needed in our closets largely keep us from life-giving rain. A famous Hiroshige woodblock print of Japanese peasants walking in heavy rain with partial shelters of rice-straw hats and oiled-paper umbrellas comes to mind. These protections shed much of the rain yet let air in, no expensive Gore-Tex needed. Feet were bare thus allowing wet soil between toes. The people were one with the land and air of their ancestors. When the rice was ripe all knew from where food truly came.
Typical old folks, country raised, grousing about over-the-top life styles in this high tech age when much of life is virtual, the three wet walkers complained of such estrangements from natural environments that modern kids are thought to suffer. It frightens; the old timers also half engaged in high tech don’t know what to do. Food is raised somewhere else by men and women in high cabs with sound systems. Daily labors among growing crops by chatting groups have become twice-yearly visits, planting and harvest times, alone in big machines. Now where people are involved they are poorly paid immigrants pushed hard. Let’s face it. The farms we knew are gone. Kids don’t even play in the nearby woods, once cultivated fields and pastures; they are focused on screens in their hands or in dimly lit home entertainment rooms. You’d think at schools they’d get a break. No, more and more time is spent viewing flickering screens. We old timers wish for teachers who would take them out doors, hand held electronic devices left inside, and there learn the local trees, birds, bugs, and more importantly each other.
Forgive us for fogeyism. The virtual new world is not easily ours. We take our exercise in workshops, gardens, and off road paths, not in gyms or on groomed fields.
We started Friday in lovely woods with Mother Nature’s fine cool rain on our faces and end with warm tears on our cheeks. Let’s hope the kids don’t ask, “What’s wrong grandma?
We’ll end with a poem by the old Closeteer about another rain.
The rain came in the dark
Still falls as I await
Some light to do my chores.
Drops are taken by the too dry soil.
From the stove’s heat I listen
To their arrival on the leaves.
Descent and absorption are more felt.
I should go forth and lie
Gratefully with ear to ground,
The other catching fresh cold drops.
There my heat drains to the soil and air
I join all that was before
And that will come again.
Yet here by the fire is pleasant.
I’ll wait until the fires go out.
WATER RESOURCE AND CONSERVATION INFORMATION
FOR MIDDLETON, BOXFORD AND TOPSFIELD`
|Precipitation Data* for Month of:
|30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches
|2015 Central Watershed Actual
|3.5 as of 8/25**
Ipswich R. Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet/ Second (CFS):
For Aug 25, 2015 Normal . . . 5.0 CFS Current Rate . . . 8.0 CFS
*Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru July.
**Middleton Stream Team is source of actual precipitation data for Aug.
Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.
THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: www.middletonstreamteam.org or <MSTMiddletonMA@gmail.com> or (978) 777-4584