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ponchi101

Log book to the end of civilization. XXI

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The clouds arrive.
We wake up one morning to a steady drizzle which gently banged overnight on the metal roofs of the containers where we live. The camp is beginning to flood and we can tell that the roads are going to be dangerous and slippery. We wait until sunrise and then decide to call it a day. We canít risk an accident and all of our work is done off road, where the conditions will be more treacherous. We canít risk it.
We know this means that any projected End of Job date is now at the whims of the weather. We spend the day doing office work, getting the paperwork up to date, but we know we will have more days like this one and therefore plenty of time in our hands.
The roads dry in a couple of days and we go out once more, ready to get some production before the next forecast for rain becomes true.
As we drive out of the camp we start noticing one of the most wonderful events in nature. The drab, brownish pastures that had been our background for the last weeks are starting to vanish under a thin carpet of green. Life, always dormant, always expecting, springs up as soon as some water is available. It is one final thing about these deserts: yes, they have been farmed and cropped out of every tree, they have been razed to the ground by war, but if there is no water, there is no possible growth. It is a vicious circle: generations ago, the local people began cutting down trees that had been here from before the dawn of civilization. Fewer trees mean less water in the soil (because the roots are gone to catch it) and therefore, fewer water means fewer trees and so on. As I drive around I come across some of the last large trees around, sparse and standing alone in the middle of nowhere, proof that the soils can support more if only given the time.
Now, what you have is a thin layer of grasses and shrubs that quickly germinate as soon as water reaches them. If you look down the brown hills are now covered in green, and these will keep blooming until (I guess) winter comes and covers them with snow.
We work like this for a few days and then more rain comes. Any hope of finishing the job before winter is now gone. The second storm batters us with more fury than the first one, with the skies grey and thunder rolling overhead. In the afternoon the sun tries to break through the cloud cover but canít, and only a few rays shine through. They fan apart as Brahma Rays, spreading from one imaginary focal point onto the plain, but the clouds beat them back.
We do go out to assess the roads and I get lucky. Above the prairies of green a rainbow goes almost from horizon to horizon, something not very usual. The sun breaks through here and gives me the view for a while, until that cloud moves away and sunset arrives.
The rains have come, fall is king. We know it will be brief, we know it really affects our work. But the fields of green are a carpet from horizon to horizon and tell us a tale of life in this desert, in these hills.
Life, impossible to stop, once it is given a chance.

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