Drought & Marriage

If any of you followed my “Sitting” series during Lent, you read about my husband planting grass in our backyard.


We’re a hopeful sort. We planted St. Augustine in the middle of driest nine months since 1895. We dumped water on the new grass all spring and crossed our fingers.


What does drought have to do with marriage? Everything.


You see, while I was praying for that new grass, I was really praying for us. Don’t worry–there’s nothing serious to report. Just 19 years, three pregnancies, two kids, three dogs, seven jobs, two unemployments, a move, two surgeries, multiple illnesses, some death. In other words, Life.


There are five official levels of drought: abnormally dry, moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional. Life brings with it many droughts. The abnormal and moderate ones are easily dealt with. With a little experience, severe and extreme become commonplace. But how do we prepare for the thing we hoped would never come–exceptional drought, when the river has literally stopped running, and the underground aquifer is down more than 90 feet?


On July 8, NPR’s “Science Friday” program did a live show in San Antonio (about 75 miles away from where I live). One hour was on the science of beef and included a panel of ranchers. A questioner from the audience asked how ranchers cope in a drought, especially with water restrictions.


“This is part of ranching in this part of the world,” one of the ranchers said. “We know that droughts will come, and then we’ll have wet years in between, and they’ll be another drought.”


If drought is an expected state–not an aberration–then it’s OK. There will be wet years in between.


On the day we could water one of our sprinkler heads broke, flooding one part of the yard and depriving the other. I grabbed two of the dog bowls, filled them up, and dumped them on the grass that was dry. I did this over and over and over again for half an hour. That night, my husband gave that same section of grass the hand-held treatment.


We are a hopeful sort.