Posted by: highmountainmuse | February 27, 2009

From where the water flows

 

The view of the Rio Grande at Brewster Park, a quick snow shoe from the ranch along the headwaters of the big river.

The view of the Rio Grande at Brewster Park, a quick snow shoe from the ranch along the headwaters of the big river.

 

There are some things we take for granted.  Often times, the most simple.  Or rather, those things that appear so simple. Like flicking a switch to turn on a light.  Turning a faucet to have warm water rush out.  Walking into the kitchen and opening the fridge and knowing the ice cream will be frozen.  We can assume the street will be lit long after most folks are fast asleep.  We can assume in front of most every house is a green lawn; in every home a TV; and at the corner of every other intersection a convenient store. Sure seems like it.  We accept these simple truths and don’t question how or why. 

 

It appears so simple, yet it’s so complex.  Our lives have been simplified by these complex systems.  In a way… but I wonder… is this simplicity or blindness? Of course it is impractical for all city and town dwellers to concern themselves with the supplied water and electrical systems.  But awareness of these systems might not be a bad idea. With knowledge and understanding, there may follow more care and responsibility.

 

Living off grid, we know, we care and have to take responsibility. If we do not walk up the mountainside with our shovel after a rain to keep the creek flowing, we will not have water in our pipes.  If we do not keep that extra light turned off in the evening of a cloudy day, our power will not make it through the night.  If we don’t throw another log on the fire, the house gets cold. Very simple, I know. But we know.  We know where our power comes from (if you have an other few minutes, please see the post Power from the Sun). We know where our water comes from. And if we run out of either power or water, we have no one to blame but ourselves, and can call no one for that quick fix. We grab the shovel, and off we go.

 

From outside our cabin we can look up at our mountain and see the snow banks and know how much water we’ll have this summer. Or watch the snow bank disappear, and wonder if the water will make it to August when our late summer rains should come. We can see the shortage of water beginning, and can take responsibility for our use by reducing our consumption rather than get caught in the shower when the pipes run dry. We consider our water six months in advance.  If it’s been a “good” snowy year, we figure our water will be adequate through the summer.  If not, we are responsible for our own changes.

 

We watch the mountain and are constantly reminded from where our water flows. The reminder to conserve water and live responsibly is right in front of us.

A snowmobiler resting on the windblown top of Stony Pass, looking back at the mountains and drainage where the Rio Grande begins.

A snowmobiler resting on the windblown top of Stony Pass, looking back at the mountains and drainage where the Rio Grande begins.

 

The Rio Grande begins here, several miles above our ranch. I wonder for how many this mighty river provides water, directly or through recharge? There isn’t much between us and the mountain that provides the first trickle which grows into the Big River.  During the summer, there may be several fishermen and a bunch of four-wheelers.  But during the winter, no one, just miles of icy river, still running beneath the snow, cutting its way ever through these white winter mountains which contain it, feed it.

A snowmobile jumps from the snowbank at top of Stony Pass, the first trickle of the Rio Grande begins right here.

A snowmobile jumps from the snowbank at top of Stony Pass, the first trickle of the Rio Grande begins right here.

 

This is where it all begins. A snow bank. How many tourists stop to play here in July as they pass by in their Jeeps bouncing up the road over the top of Stony Pass? Do they realize this is the very snow bank from which the Big River begins?  If they all just took a moment to consider.

 

This is where the river begins. Then look down river and wonder where it all will go…

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Responses

  1. Dear Gin,
    I love your blog, and today’s was so special because Anthony and I stood at that very spot in Brewster Park and married!
    I start each day reading your postings and I’m drawn back to how much I love it there. Hearing about the people, animals and places I hold dear helps me keep perspective in a world I find too hectic.
    Thank you for the reminders, the updates, the knowledge… and for using this tool to reach those who can only dream of the peacefulness of your surroundings.

  2. Lee, you made my day, thank you for writing. I think of you and Anthony and Ana and hope for wonderful things for the three of you. And think of little Ana dancing and can’t help but smile!

  3. It strikes me to be very thankful that it is people like you guys that are living on the cusp of the source of the Rio…

    If more people were cognizant of where things like water come from, we would not have to worry so much about whether or not it was clean!

    Well said!

  4. Thanks for the pictures, But only for you is the over look of brewster park a short snow shoe trip from the ranch Love your daily writing .

  5. Beautifully said! As I read, I thought of a sign in one of the canyons near our home. It warns not to pollute, and to conserve, because “we all live downstream.”

  6. […] his sled was in the river, not him, fortunately.  And not just any river, but the Rio Grande, way up here at the headwaters of this mighty […]


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