Canada. Wildfires, waterways. Episode 6.
(A fragment from the Canadian book of E. Kolyer about the woods, the fires, floods and other disasters - and how to resist to them)
... Heat. So hot that sweat acts at us, even when we lie in the shadows of poplars occupied only with the thoughts.
Is the heat preceding a storm which is not saturated with moisture, and the dry, scorching heat.
From it dried up a rank and Vick. A marsh grass, losing the juice, from green became blankly - yellow, and blueberry on bushes turned into the dry wrinkled lumps before managed to ripen.
For Lilian loss of blueberry - the present tragedy. Blueberry perfectly blossomed in June, promising a rare harvest, and, pass in July one - two heavy rains, bushes of blueberry would become covered by large juicy berries which Lilian assumed to dig, and then to preserve and weld on jam for the winter.
But neither in July, nor in August did not have a rain at all.
Day after day, week after a week stood the ruthless exhausting heat. And it meant that we will have neither berries, nor jam for the winter.
But lack of mature blueberry became not the only trouble which struck edge in the summer of 1931.
Prairies turned into deserts. Lucerne dried up on fields, without having managed to blossom. It seemed, even pines and fir-trees lack moisture to refresh the needles … the Course of a stream from sources to the mouth was as dry
as the traces of animals as almost all small lakes conducting to it. And in dirty ooze that promptly turned into the dried-up crust, the set of the fouled duck and goose trail was seen. It were traces of baby birds, too weak to fly, too slow for run, but already understanding that it is necessary to look for water somewhere.
Coyotes packs went down the course, using an easy opportunity to hunt for a game. All course was covered with duck and goose quills during that terrible period of summer heat.
Not only birds perished. Animals from farms roamed along coast with the languages which are put out from a heat in search of water. The half-ruined beaver dam had about two inches of stagnant water - or rather to liquid dirt which was separated from the dry soil by several yards of the deep bog. Seeking to reach a puddle, the animals exhausted with thirst made the way through a bog, and many of them got stuck in the bog - and perished.
It was the slow death, the end came sometimes only for the fourth or fifth day. And when the fall came, many of farmers were distressed concerning ruinous losses and thought that if the situation does not change, then not far off time when animals to satisfy thirst, are forced to go to a long journey to the river.
Not only the boggy course of our stream became the place of death. Other streams stayed in the same state. Danger was constituted by lowlands on fields where thawed snow stood in the spring.
Situation became so menacing that the department of pastures of department of land and forest grounds put fencings around the dried reservoirs that animals did not perish in the bog, trying to reach the pathetic remains of water.
But fencings - only temporary means against accident, but not a radical way of treatment of an illness. Over time columns have to begin to rot and be tumbled down, they should be put again. And what advantage to cattle from surrounding pastures if for it the few existing reservoirs are closed?
The only exit to the future from a distress was to try to collect and keep water in “years of abundance“ that it was enough for all “years of hunger“. Here that is necessary - and it is probably possible to make.
This thought arose at me in the form of not clear idea, but, the more I thought of it, the an exit from trouble was drawn more distinctly.
And when everything became finally clear to me, I shared the opinion with Lilian.
- Department of protection of water resources, - I suddenly declared. - It is necessary to write them the letter.
- And how with blueberry? - laughing Lilian answered. - Now I have in thoughts only a blueberry.
- it is good that it is though in thoughts, - I answered, - not to find it in the wood. Lilian`s
answered me with a playful grimace, and I continued:
- I Will write them about a stream Meldram and about beaver dams. Lilian`s
looked at me skeptically.
- What understands department of protection of water resources in beavers?
- is probable, devilishly it is not enough. But they owe all - the nobility which - that about dams.
- For example?
- Well, they have to know that the more in a stream of dams, the it is more in it water. Lilian`s
contemptuously sniffed, and made it rather eloquently.
- Why in that case they do not build a dam on our stream?
- At them hands do not reach before. And maybe, to them at all not to us.
- Then why you want to write them?
- Because, - I began to explain patiently, - we will do all work if they permit to us.
- is clear.
of Lilian sat Several moments silently, not moving, and then told:
- Sit down and write. But I think that it is waste of time...
The translation from English under A. Ryabokon`s edition