There are days, weeks even, when it seems that the wind never blows. Usually, there's a hot July sun beating down, I'm in a canoe in the middle of the river, and there isn't a breath of wind.
And then there's this past week.
I know that the folks who have spent any length of time up in the panhandle are accustomed to the wind; but, I'm starting to get a little put out with it. Day and night, the wind has been blowing everything from Amarillo to Del Rio further south. We're right here in the middle, just trying to hang on to what we've got, and wondering when the wind will finally settle.
It does usually calm down in the evenings, and that is some small relief. However, I watch our volunteer firemen when the wind blows, and I can't help but see them saying silent prayers that they will not be needed during these gales.
Last Thursday, the Ministerial Alliance hosted a "Prayer for Rain" service on the courthouse lawn. Folks gathered around, raised their hearts and voices to God, and prayed that this tough dry streak would finally come to an end. I think the good Lord would like to hear from even more of us!
When the wind continually blows as it has, our already dry ground is sucked even drier. Our tanks, creeks and rivers give up their moisture to the skies, and that falls as rain somewhere far away. The pastures are trying to green up, even as the trees and bushes spring to life. Without rain, they will begin to suffer.
There are many things that happen when the rain isn't falling. Our streams and tanks drop, and sometimes fade away. Lush pastures begin to show bare patches, and everywhere green turns to brown. Trees are usually hardy enough to seek moisture deeper down; but, that means that water levels in our groundwater begin falling.
And there is the risk of fires. With almost no moisture in the soil, even new growth turns brown quickly. Winds of 20-30 miles per hour wick out the remaining moisture, leaving dry tender from one end of the county to another. It takes only one careless moment, one recklessly tossed cigarette, one leaf blowing away with embers already glowing. And we have a fire.
We in this county have been fortunate to escape some of the devastation from wildfires that have been experienced elsewhere in the state. We've lost fences and grazing, and occasionally even some small outbuildings. But, we've lost very little real property and, praise God, no life. That fortune is due to a combination of very good luck, and a talented and hard working volunteer fire department.
In May, the fire department will hold their annual fundraiser. It seems that every year, just when that event rolls around, we have a bit more rainfall and less treacherous conditions. Just when folks most need to be understanding how important our fire department is to our safety, things always seem to be less stressful than they were only weeks or months earlier.
Unless we get some rainfall soon, that will not be the case when the next Fire Department BBQ rolls around. I've been at the event in the past and seen them suddenly have to respond to a call, leaving guests on their own while they once again give up their time and safety to protect us.
Start setting aside a donation now for this group. Look around your home, your ranch, your farm,,,, remember how fragile those things are and how much we rely on our friends, family and neighbors that are our fire department. Then, when May rolls around, make your plans to attend the BBQ and give all that you can. Fuel costs are up, as is the price of everything else, and our local force needs all the help they can get.
And, continue the prayers started last week for rain. God is listening; but, I think He would appreciate being reminded of our earnestness and devotion. And the rain will come again.
It’s all just my opinion.