Stan's Tuesday Walks

A Weekly Feature
by Stan Evans,
President, Santa Fe Always Online

June 18 , 2002

This morning I started my walk at 5:45, some 15 minutes earlier than usual. I was trying to beat the heat just a little. Summer is really here in Santa Fe, with the temperature topping 90 on most days. So even though the air was cool when I set out, wearing only a T-shirt and shorts, after just a few minutes of rigorous walking, I was sweating.

The budding of spring flowers gave the air a fresh smell, which invigorated me. Because we have had an extremely dry year, I was surprised that so many flowers were blooming. In the long time that I have lived in Santa Fe, I cannot remember a year as dry as this one. You wouldn't think that a substance made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen could cause such a problem.

People who live in areas that are being flooded wish they could send some of that water to us, who need it so desperately. We would be more than happy to take it. But nobody knows how to do that-so while some places are washing away, we are burning up.

And it's not that there is an absolute shortage of water-in fact, two-thirds of the Earth is covered with the stuff. But most of all that water is in the oceans, and no one yet has figured out how to desalinate it in an inexpensive way.

We figured out how to get to the moon. We moved oil hundreds of miles across the fragile tundra of the North Slope of Alaska. We keep advancing medicine at an astonishing rate-and yet we cannot come up with a method to take the NaCl out of H2O in some simple, affordable way.

Water, like air, is one of those things that humans can do without for only a very short period of time. Obviously, taking salt out of water is a bigger problem than I think it ought to be-but if we ever solve it, the redistribution of water shouldn't be too hard.

Like many other semi-arid areas, Santa Fe has had a history of occasional water shortages. But unlike some cities, Santa Fe somehow never gets around to curing ours. Our city government lives by the philosophy that, like the old song says, "Manana, manana, manana is soon enough for us." Well, c'est la vie. (But that's French, isn't it? Spanish spoken here!)

Yet as much as this manana philosophy grinds on my mind, maybe it is precisely that philosophy that has given this wonderful city its charm.

As I walked along, I tried to look at the bright side of the drought. For starters, I told myself that lack of water makes for low humidity. But that ain't gonna get it, I quickly realized, because it also means dry or dead landscaping, high forest-fire risk, no water served at restaurants (but really, who needs it when there is wine?), etc., etc., etc.

As such thoughts raced through my mind I suddenly came to a decision. I decided to slow down so that I wouldn't perspire so much and would therefore require less water in my shower after the walk. The thought that I had made a slight contribution to conserve water for our city made me happy. I always like to do my part. Have a great day!



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