Here in West Virginia, it was a summer of water. I’m a native West Virginian just returned home, so this was only my second summer in the state in 30 years, and I kept saying to my partner, “I sure don’t remember it ever being this rainy those twenty-two summers I lived here as a kid.” 2018 was a summer of near-daily thunder and flash flood upon flash flood, a summer my cousins could only get half their crops in the ground, and a summer Mr. Burke, the farmer who has for fifty years cut the field behind our house in Preston County, still hasn’t had three straight rain-free days to make hay. Truth is, this WV summer had the kind of water we used to have in the summers in Seattle, the place I just left. Not anymore. This July and August I sat on my West Virginia porch in downpours reading texts from my Seattle friends suffering heat and drought and smoke from wildfires all over the West Coast. “They’re saying that going outside today would be like smoking seven cigarettes.” “Today the air quality is the same as Beijing.” “This morning I woke up and there was ash falling from the sky.”
Climate change. Water. Too little in one place. Too much in another. And everywhere, water under threat.