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By Joseph Dempsey haunt

Sunday, June 28, 2009

In this neck of the woods, moisture during the first six months of 2009 has befallen us at two speeds. Wide open and off. Earlier this spring, we were in the wide-open mode. It was as if the Thailand monsoon season I experienced in the early 60s had been transplanted to Arkansas. Now the spigot is turned off. As if we did not pay our bill. Trees are chasing the dogs. Fish are forgetting how to swim.

Cotton, corn, soybeans, and rice are a thirsty lot. It is no wonder that in this bizarre climatic behavior, our farmers, who were besotted just a month or so ago, are now “watering” their crops.

What you see above is a cotton crop near Turner, Arkansas. Until recently I called the large irrigation device “one of those humongous irrigation thingys on wheels.” That’s probably not too far from the pedestrian vernacular applied to said device by most of the general public who happen to pass by and observe one in use. What it’s called in the bizness is a center pivot irrigation system. The most common size of these humongous thingys will stretch a quarter mile in length when it’s put to full use. Friends, that’s a lawn sprinkler on steroids.

It is an impressive sight to see. The whole thing attaches to a well, which is the pivot point. The monster circulates around the pivot point, sucking up and spewing out life-giving water. The cotton that may wind up in your shirt, sheets or “drawers” now has a better chance of fulfilling those vital roles.

The bizarre climatic behavior of 2009 gives rise to a lot of coffee shop chatter regarding the weather and how it is behaving. Caffeine-charged protagonists blame recently experienced extremes on everything from politicians to liberal zealots, who blame it on conservative zealots. We somehow believe we are living in a unique time. From what little history I can find about the matter, the idea that we are experiencing some sort of cataclysmic precursor to the disintegration of the world absolutely no later than next Wednesday afternoon — forgive me for this — just does not hold water.

Weather not conforming to mankind’s demands and desires is just the way it’s always been. It’s just that now it is our turn to experience the phenomenon. So go ahead and make reservations for your New Years Eve party. And hope it’s not raining. Or snowing.


N O T E S:  
Nikon D300, both shots Nikkor VR 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 G ED, tripod mounted. Wide shot 1/125 @ f22 ISO 400 at 82mm (35mm equivalent — 123mm). Head-on shot 1/320 @ f9 ISO 200 at 52 mm (35mm equivalent 78mm)

Get the rest of the story and see more meandering around the Delta on our blog, Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind
— things you just don’t see every day.

Click the jump wings
to see the previous
Photo of the Week.
Click the camera
for an index to every
Photo of the Week.
weekly grist

Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog.  — J. D.


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