Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bridge over high water

Yesterday I discovered that a dead branch from a tree had fallen onto the bridge that connects the reception center area to the forest on the other side. I guess the main contact of the fall was to the side of the bridge but part of the branch was suspended on the rope that serves as a handrail. I foolishly tried to throw it to the side with one hand, while holding my camera with the other. Real dumb! The long piece of wood, just to the left of the walkway, bounced back to hit my left arm, nearly breaking it. I've been lucky so far that a tree hasn't fallen on the bridge itself. About two years ago a very large spondia tree fell parallel to the 42 meter-long structure, only 4 meters away. It's a question of time. One has to deal with these dangers when dealing with trees. As you can see, the water is nearly up to the top of the boardwalk. At this level, the water is nearly 2 meters deep. In years past I have seen water cover the bridge completely. The most spectacular flood was three years ago when the water came up over the top in just 9 hours. There was no water under the bridge at all prior to the rain starting! I remember that particular rain very well because we got the same in the city and I woke up to find a huge crater in the front yard because the septic tank had caved in from the excessive infiltration of water into the sandy soil. The details of rainfall aren't news here, other than generalities. Nobody talks about how many centimeters or inches of rain fell today, or any other time. I have no idea how much rain we've gotten this season. In general, it's reported that our region gets around 2,000 millimeters per year. Most of it falls between February and June. I wish I had the power to spread this rainfall out over the year because after July it can be very sparse. September through November, hardly any at all. Year before last, we went 4 months without any rain at Bosque Santa Lúcia. This past year was almost as bad. I can't prove it because I don't have the facts, but it seems to me that every year gets drier ... and hotter. Let it be known that I don't complain about rain!

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