Saturday, June 28, 2014

the tides of our lives

The world changed overnight.

That is the way of things during the summer for the laguna.  Last night everything was normal.  The frogs were chirping.  The fish were splashing.  The crocodile was lurking.  And the laguna was as full as I have seen it. 

You know the drill, though.  Usually, the laguna is a holding pond.  It is a reservoir for all of the rain water that drains from the mountains in its water shed.  The only thing separating it from the ocean is a thin dam of sand.  But, before the water would get high enough to spill over that dune, it would flood most of the houses in my neighborhood.

To prevent that, the powers that be hire a cat to breach the sand dam.  And when the dam goes, so does the water -- along with floating plants and debris, and enough snakes, frogs, fish, snails, turtles, and crocodiles to populate a Victorian zoo.

Apparently, that happened this morning.  When I wandered out to the walkway, there was nothing but a stinking mud flat behind my house.  Well, a mud flat AND tons of water hyacinth and water cabbage.

You may recall that a local committee took on the yeoman work of cleaning up the arm of the laguna where my house is located.  The task was two-fold: primarily, to make the place look better and secondarily, to open up the arm to allow the water hyacinth and water cabbage to be flushed when the sand dam was breached.  (the laguna goes to the barber shop)

The first part worked well.  The arm looked almost as well-manicured as the lake in Central Park.  Nature, of course, takes back her own.   Most of the vegetation has grown back.

As for the flushing, it didn't quite work as well as we had hoped.  It was probably a false hope.  The arm is far shallower than the main portion of the water, and with an almost-flat grade.  When the water drained, the vegetation merely settled to the bottom -- just waiting for that supply-side tide to return and raise all plants.

For the aquatic animals, these ebbs and flows (mainly the ebbs) are life-altering.  I was reading the newspaper on the terrace this afternoon when I saw a bit of slow movement.  A Mexican mud turtle was seeking refugee status in my garden.

His stride was determined, but his speed was hardly hare-like.  He watched me warily as he ambled by, and buried himself in the sand of the garden.  I guess wet sand is as good as mud.

When I return in a few weeks, the water will undoubtedly have returned.  And, as it does several times each summer, the laguna will settle once more into its cycle, laughing that we even dare to alter its rhythm.

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