Monday Morning Musings

Posted on November 8, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Peter sand boarding on the Imperial Sand Dunes

(Pete MacDonald photo)


“Water, water, everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink,

Water, water everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink.”

The Rime of The Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I am not a mariner… but I am ancient.

So many things in life we take for granted. Compared to many in the world, we are a pretty spoiled lot. We expect clean air. We expect employment and suitable housing. We expect things to run on time. We expect food to be delivered to our grocery stores without interruption. We expect a large bag of potato chips to be half filled with air.

In case you haven’t noticed, the most precious commodity is water. Clean water. Affordable water. Predictable water. Most of us rarely give it a thought when we turn on our taps. But I can tell you, that in many parts of the world water is revered.

Five years ago, at this time, I was living in India. (Oops. Another 5 years just went speeding past me). In many of the rural villages I visited, water was always something important for households and farms. One of the NGO that I worked with, provided the skills and equipment for communities to build water infrastructure. Many of you know, that during my time in Kanyakumari, at the very southern tip of India, I lived adjacent to a small community of people afflicted with leprosy. Water was a constant source of concern, conflict and aggravation for people already dealing with isolation and a host of other problems. There were ten water taps scattered throughout the community and people had to line up every day of their lives to get water for bathing, cooking and drinking. Through the generosity of people back in Canada, most notably the Wishing Well Society of St.Andrew’s (Antigonish County), Nova Scotia, we were able to provide new taps for every household bringing water to their doorsteps. The impact was immediate.

Several years ago, I travelled through the United States with my son, Peter. We were both mightily impressed with the state of California. It is massive and has every landscape that one might imagine. I can still see Pete snowboarding down the Imperial Sand Dunes. The dunes are located in the southeastern corner of the state. The dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide. The dunes often reach a height of 300 feet above the desert. One other thing that became obvious as we wended our way northward was the concern about water management. Farmers were screaming for more water in the middle of a drought. Off and on, the state of California has experienced drought conditions for the past 20 years.

Canada is blessed with an abundance of water. Some estimates say that we have upwards of 20% of the world’s surface freshwater. With the issues in California and many other states, it is not inconceivable that there will be battles over water between the two countries in the years ahead.

So, you’re wondering where I am going with this story. This is a very long lead in but today, as is the case many days, I have so little to say and so much space to fill.

All of the homes and businesses in our village receive their water by tanker truck. Because of the permafrost and rocky landscape, water cannot be delivered by underground pipes. The folks who drive the trucks are hard working and reliable. Everyone in the village is conscious of their water consumption. In the winter after a storm, we are all warned to conserve water because every home has to be plowed out for the trucks to get access to water outlets. The same goes for sewage trucks, and oil trucks.

Last weekend, my water supply was getting very low. I am one of the lucky ones. From the comfort of my home, I can go into the furnace room where the water tanks are located and see exactly the status of my water. Most homes in the village have a separate room containing the furnace, water and sewage tanks accessible only from the outside. The only way to know if you are running out of water is when you see a red light in your house that goes on when you have no water.

I hadn’t received water for several days and I could see that my water supply was very low, and it was the weekend. Maybe the guys driving the water truck have seen me walking through the village wearing  blue jeans all the time and wondered if I ever did laundry or bathed for that matter! Knowing this, I was conserving water at every turn. I didn’t shower for a few days, and I only flushed the toilet when absolutely necessary. You cottage owners understand that equation!

Come Saturday, I had a conundrum on my hands. Should I shower? Do a load of laundry? Do the dishes? Or flush the toilet?  For sage advice (and for a bit of fun) I reached out to my colleagues on Messenger. You can well imagine the array of comments that I received. In summary, my friends felt that all matters could be resolved if I just stepped outside. With Wakeham Bay a few steps away, I could bath, pee, do my dishes and even wash my clothes. Don’t tell me that you haven’t peed in the ocean!

“The fair breeze flew, the white foam flew,

The furrow followed free;

We were the first, that ever burst,

Into that silent sea.”

It’s -10 today.

There will be no bursting into that silent sea!

Have a great week.

P.S. I always have drinking water compliments of a lovely water cooler in my house. I go to the water plant to refill the water jugs.

Cooler heads prevail


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