After three recent reporting trips to southern New Mexico, I can’t quite get my head around this:
It’s the Rio Grande. The entire stretch through southern New Mexico has been completely dry since last summer, save for a few places where groundwater seeps, either hydrothermal stuff or leakage from upstream dams, wet the channel. Susan Montoya Bryan, a journalist pal with the AP who’s been grappling same as me with how to explain the drought, wrote this:
Only puddles remain, leaving gangs of carp to huddle together in a desperate effort to avoid the fate of thousands of freshwater clams, their shells empty and broken on the river bottom.
There’s a lot of left brain explaining to be done, involving climate variability, water management decisions, upstream dams and downstream farmers. Mostly that’s what I do. But there was something gut going on when I walked out onto the dry riverbed today, past the old tire and the off-roaders’ tread marks, beneath a swarm of cliff swallows that had built mud nests in the nearby bridge abutment, waiting for the bugs.
Will there be enough bugs?