Jones: Water is life

Loy Aisling Jones
For the Craig Press
Loy Jones

Ever notice that when you’re out walking your neighborhood streets you can smell someone watering their lawn before you see the sprinkler?

Or when you’re out hiking and you’re coming up on a stream you didn’t know was there and some little thing in your subconscious tells you it’s the smell of water?

Yet… when we are lifting a cup of water to our lips I’ve never heard someone comment on that they can smell water.

Maybe it’s because we are lucky enough to not know true thirst to the point of dehydration, but our lands sure seem to know it. In the northwest region of Colorado, we are no strangers to drought. Unlike California, our water doesn’t generally get limited in the city limits, and even on the really bad years, our recreation is rarely shut down.

On a drought year for me personally, the lack of water luckily doesn’t change my ability to pay my bills, go to and do my job, or provide for my family. I know the blessing that is because I’ve seen the lack of water set back family and friends time and time again.

I feel for the ranchers on the western slope of Colorado and anywhere else that are having to make some really hard decisions. A lot of hand-selected genetics that have taken five years at least to implement in a herd are sitting on the fence that might take them to the sale barn or might be worth twice next year if they can just hold on.

The loan that was taken out on that new tractor that will sit under the shed with no hay to cut this year weighs heavy on the mind. The price of the hay they can’t even grow at home because of no water will cost an arm and a leg to get from the people who have been lucky enough to throw a few bales and the diesel to get it takes from its worth. The dollars spent on the crops not harvested causes grumblings throughout.

When you hear a rancher say that water is life, they mean it. They cannot control it, yet it’s that wild card that affects years of progress so easily.

So I’m asking you; when you see your local rancher hauling water this summer give him a bigger wave and a little of your smile as he works so hard to keep doing his part in feeding the nation.

And if you’re the praying type, I’m asking you to pray for rain, and if you’re not, then maybe you’re the dancing kind and you can do a little rain dance instead.

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