Everywhere, and Nowhere

6

April 17, 2021- Eight years ago, I passed through the town of Magdalena, New Mexico, as it had run out of water, for the first time in memory. Since then, Magdalena has managed to keep its potable water supply above the minimum. The area is not “high growth”, so there has been a positive response to water conservation.

Arizona, southern California, Utah and Colorado, along with other parts of New Mexico, are high growth areas, with no corresponding stability in their water supply. We, in central Arizona, find ourselves in a place that is both appealing to those looking to relocate AND is in a period of lesser precipitation. The southwestern part of what is now the United States has known drought that has lasted as long as 400 years. During that time, the indigenous peoples of Arizona, California and Nevada packed up and left for other places which were not experiencing as severe a lack of precipitation.

The present, more transactional, society is, at least for now, both more numerous and more resistant to relocation, than were the somewhat simpler communities of the First Century, A.D. It is not hard to imagine just what chaos would ensue, in communities both densely populated and centered on high rise residential building, should the situation that faced Magdalena-and Cape Town, South Africa, a few short years ago, overtake them.

The present social climate has more than its share of denial-based, most likely, on the inability to imagine a world of dry taps. The technology for mass building of canals and distribution of water, from half a continent away, does not yet exist, nor does the public will to look into the matter. It will, however, present itself as necessary-and possibly as soon as the tail end of my lifetime, which is, as many of you realize, not all that far off.

We will need far more rain this summer, than has fallen in the past several years-and a much higher snowfall, come the winter of 21-22 and beyond, if the worst case scenario is to be averted.

OverZoomed

6

December 10, 2020-

The spread of teleconferencing during this time of worldwide pestilence is probably the single most useful occurrence of the year . I can only hope it remains, especially as when I find myself away from Home Base, come late Spring onward, carrying on regular communication, via Zoom, YouTube or what have you, will be a much easier task.

There is, though, the matter of working out synchronicity. This evening, there were four events occurring simultaneously. Two were parties, one was a memorial gathering and the last was a worship service. I focused on the latter two, just barely greeting folks at the first of the parties, before it was time to leave.

We will, as with any other endeavour, need to work out etiquette and protocols of expectations for Zoom gatherings, lest feelings be hurt, unnecessarily. I know that, just because one is among many on a teleconference does not mean feathers won’t get ruffled by someone’s absence or abrupt departure.

So, I have worked out a set of priorities for my own Zooming- Offering condolences and memories will have to come first, then regular worship and devotionals, followed by special celebratory events and lastly, someone’s random informational offering-which ought, by definition, be recorded for later viewing.

In any case, may your Zooming be helpful and a source of connection.

Adding New Skills

2

November 10, 2020-

As I returned from work, this afternoon, my friend, the Mourning Dove, landed briefly on the gravel of our driveway. Usually, her greeting me is an indicator of good news. So it was this time, as I received written confirmation of a change in my monthly deposit from the Feds.

Workwise, I was asked to preside over a pair of online classes, this afternoon, having completed two in-person sessions in the morning. Being math and science, I had to pay close attention, ahead of time, to the material. It was not difficult, but these are “whiz kids” and it turned out they already had mastered the material.

What I had not mastered was the setting up of Breakout Groups, so everyone ended up in the same group, with little to discuss. This will be a matter for Zoom Tutorial, over the next couple of days, as I am quite sure today will not be the last time that I need to oversee such a class format, between now and Christmas.

In the end, my young friends were glad that someone was there to run them through the session, even if it was review material. There are a number of avenues of learning that can branch off from the lessons, yet I leave that to their very competent regular instructor, who returns next week.

I dreamt last night that a former hard taskmaster managed to teach me how to secure caps on bottles of cola, using plastic ties. I can pretty much guarantee this will not happen in real life. What I got out of it, though, was that I can, and will, acquire new skills, over the next several months and years. I won’t be working for wages, all that much, after next month, yet life itself needs us to stay sharp and focused. As I write this, the image of one of my uncles, whose cognitive skills were sharp during his working years, but faded in retirement, is cautioning just such a regimen of regular mental exercise.

Life is certainly a sweet cornucopia.