Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Mugo Bit the Dust

The drought continues to plague Northern California.  Our lakes are down to one-third of normal, our lawns are dead, and in a clear example of "the law of unintended consequences", many of our trees are dying, too.  I recently read an article stating that as many as five thousand mature trees in a nearby town are dead or dying.

Five thousand!  And some of them are over two hundred years old.

The governor said "cut water use by 25%" and many of us did, that and more.  Some people went nuts, though, and just turned off all their outside water and said, "Phooey with it.  I'll just wait until the drought is over and then I'll water things again."

Allowing a lawn to dry up and die is one thing.  It can be brought back in a matter of months.  But allowing trees that are hundreds of years old to die, when the drought is "only" four years old is pretty short-sighted. Now they are urging us to "water your trees." 

You don't say.

The weather gurus are predicting an El Nino winter, often meaning pouring rain for months on end.  By next spring, my dead lawn may look like a putting green for all I know.  (Well, I can hope, can't I?)

But those dead trees ... well, I won't see their replacements grow up, and neither will my children or their great - great - great grandchildren.  Stupid.  And sad.
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How often in life do we set something in motion that creates results or develops consequences which we simply did not foresee?  The "law of unintended consequences" is alive and operational on many levels.

Proverbs tells us that a "word fitly spoken is like apples of silver or pictures of gold".  But what about the words hastily spoken in anger or cruelty that create bitterness and harbor rancor for years to come, lasting sometimes even from generation to generation? (Think Hatfields and McCoys.)
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We planted a small mugo (pronounced mew-go) pine almost four years ago.  It was a little decorative tree, only three feet tall, but completely symmetrically round, and which generally grows only one or two inches each year.  It is a prized plant for specific spots where you want a visual impact, but limited growth.

I watered it faithfully, and then when we were placed on water-rationing, I watered it as often as I was allowed to do.  Three times per week for fifteen minutes each time.  We have very hot summers here in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and around August it began to look pretty pitiful.  I hand carried extra water in a watering can to it.

I mulched around the base of that little mugo.  I pinched off the dead bits, in the hopes that it wouldn't waste it's water trying to feed dead stuff.  All in vain.  It died.  Four years of pampering down the old drought-drain.

But only four years.

What of a lifetime wasted in dry barren regret?  What have we done to address the consequences we may have caused however unintentionally?

I hope El Nino comes.  Oh, how I how and pray that it does.

But more importantly, I hope I am learning to carefully address those barren places in my life, where bitterness and resentment stifle growth.  There are many healthy mugo pines - somewhere.  It can be replaced, replanted.

But we only have one life to live.  Let's work on watering hope, irrigating dreams and splashing a little happiness around whenever we can.  What do you say?
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Hope you are wading in creeks of cheer, and lakes of laughter in your life this evening.  But if you have "hit a dry patch" - try to do something about it, sooner rather than later.  You have seldom seen anything sadder than a dead mugo. But dry regrets over unintended consequences are pretty sad, too.

Until next time, your drought-stricken, but still watering where allowed, neighborhood gardener ~ Marsha

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