Rain Day Every Day

It is like somebody flipped a switch. My first three months in Brasilia, it rained not a drop.  It started to rain a couple weeks ago and now it rains every day and it has been cloudy and gray. The picture above shows the more open sky. It has not been like that very much.

I don’t remember it being so gray. I remember it rained almost every day, but that the sun came out between. Maybe later. We are getting warning about dengue, spread my mosquitoes. The interesting thing about dengue is that it was wiped out in Brazil a generation ago, but it came back. Progress.

The rain has made everything a bright, blinding green. It is a remarkable climate. Bone dry followed by soaking wet. It creates an interesting water management challenge.  Part of the year you have none; the other part you have much more than you need. But there really isn’t a drought, since it is so predictable.

In “the Big Thirst” the author describes water management problems. Water is not like any other resource. It is completely renewable. You really cannot save or destroy water. It is really everywhere a local problem. If I “save” a gallon of water in Brasilia, it does nothing to help some poor guy in Africa who is suffering prolonged drought.  It might not mean anything even locally.

Water problems are really problems of location and/or energy.  I could “waste” water forever in Brasilia w/o creating any problems at all, except that it requires energy and effort to transport the water and purify it. Those are the real costs.  Consider the example of water in the lake or a pool. I can cool off and swim in the lake and “consume” the water w/o actually using any of it.  Even if I decide to drink it, I can only keep it for a couple hours. When water evaporates, it just purifies itself and moves somewhere else.

I have been listening to the audio-book version of “The Big Thirst” but not doing it very diligently. In fact, I have mostly been listening to it while walking to the grocery store, which gives me about an hour worth of listening each week.  During my lethargic march through the book, the season changed. I started when it was dry and brown. When the book talked about a long drought in Australia, I could relate. Now it is more like Scotland, with daily mists and rain. It is even cool enough for me to wear a sweatshirt, which you wouldn’t guess in the tropics. Moving between such vastly different water regimes gives me a really different perspective on the book.

It is natural to think of your reality as THE reality. Living in a desert, and Brasilia is essentially a desert in the dry season, makes you of water shortages. Moving to a soaking environment makes you think of water diversion. Having both in the same place in the course of a few days is odd. 

Things are growing again. I have a mango tree in the yard and a banana. I planted some watermelon. If you have lots of water, do watermelon.