Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Drowned Land of Ys

Green, green grass, dead trees, fluffy clouds
 We've received something like 10" of rain since the new year, so the countryside is lush with winter grasses.  I love, love, love the juxtaposition of dead trees with bright green grass--I think some part of me reads it as some sort of metaphor for rebirth or the indomitability of life or something.  Or maybe it's just really pretty.  The streams have been swelling, the roads have been flooding, and the farm ponds are brim-full.  

A swollen stream--possibly Walbarger Creek?
I love these ponds (or "tanks" as they're prosaically called around here). They're often dug into the side of inclines to catch the runoff and shored up on the far side with a retaining wall, so they look like an earthen basin set into the hill.

A gloomy island surrounded by a mirror-like moat

Right now, those basins are overflowing, and they're forming rushing, foaming little streams that snake across pastures and form impromptu fens in the low spots. Then they spill out of the fens, pour under the road, cross more pasture, and fill up another pond, before overflowing... and so on.    When you drive through the countryside, you're surrounded by a world of moving, brimming, gushing, living water.  Lovely. I tried to snap some pictures as I made my roundabout way back from the farmer's market yesterday (roundabout because the roads I would usually take were flooded), but the light was a little tricky.  Eh, well.  I did the best I could.

Green grass, cacti, overflowing ponds
What's odd is that some of these areas have been flooded since the previous inundation, over a week ago.  Especially along FM 973--trees have been up to their ankles in water this whole time. These trees were dying of drought for the past two years; now any that survived are drowning.  Hardly seems fair.

Flooded trees and pastures
There's a legend of a Breton city that was swallowed by the ocean--it's called "The Drowned City of Ys" (long story short: kings should avoid having orgy-loving daughters that traffic with the devil).   It's been on my mind lately because this area looks like a drowned land these days.  Only in this case, it's a good drowning (for the most part)--fat cows, green grass, filled ponds.

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