Back at the beginning of the summer, when the prognosticators were saying it was going to be a very dry summer and people started sharing recollections of the Dolores River drying up to a trickle in years past, I asked everyone to "pray boldly" for rain. Being a pastor, I believe in the power of prayer.
Well, obviously we didn't get all the rain that we needed for farming and ranching and recreation, but we can thank God, we got enough to keep the forests somewhat green and minimize the threat of forest fires in the area, and McPhee Reservoir didn't become as depleted as it could have been. Always the optimist, I have to believe that even the little showers we've been getting will be helpful for next year.
Did you know we have what's called a "monsoon season" in this high desert plains area? I've lived in Dolores for only a little over two years, but I had never heard that until recently. And some of the recent thunderstorms did their best to "flood" us with moisture! I know, half an inch or three-quarters of an inch at a time isn't much, but while it was falling, it seemed like a lot.
I was sitting on the back porch of Jerry and Christine Chadwick's home during one downpour. It was wonderful, and as we felt the moisture spraying off of the big pine trees, they reminisced about years past when the river would flood, and people had to boil their water for a few weeks until the river receded. Jerry said there were instances when people would turn on their taps in Dolores and minnows would come out! And Christine remarked about the different shades of brown that we see in the river after a rainstorm or two today. Indeed, Mother Nature in always amazing, in monsoon seasons and in dry spells. When we take time to look around us, we easily see how majestic God's creation really is.
One of my personal great days this summer was tubing down the Dolores with my 11-year old grandson, Jack. It was the end of June, and the water was low, but I had promised him this would be one of the things we would do while he was visiting us this summer. Well, the ride from behind Karla's Kitchen down to the "beach" was really a beautiful, fun ride. Only once did I have to get out of the tube and walk 10 yards. I'm not real sure why; it was either because the water was too low or I was too heavy! (How does that work?)
Truly, we had a wonderful time, saw some beautiful country right in the middle of our community, and we met a lot of nice people along the way. One group at a wedding reception at the community center, when they saw us floating by, offered us "a plate to go!" Jack had so much fun that we did it a second time.
Yes, although the Dolores River looks muddy some days after a rainstorm, it's not the mighty Mississippi. But it's our river, it's beautiful, and it's not a trickle. It keeps on flowing, and we should keep praying.
Rick Carpenter is pastor of the Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church in Dolores, and also of the Methodist church in Dove Creek.