Like water for rice pudding

I awoke to rain. There wasn't enough, it turned out, to quench the brushfire hazard, which has now entered the dreaded red zone. It was enough to delight the birds. Even the big ugly warty-faced muscovy ducks were flapping triumphantly over wafer-thin puddles.

A man in Fort Myers was charged yesterday with killing his old dog with a blow to the head, and burying it in a grave on his property. I suppose he should have turned it over to the SPCA where it would have sat in a cell while waiting to be killed by strangers. Norman Mailer wrote that a man has a responsibility, when the time comes, to kill his own dog. It's a burden of love. My friend Walter used to say that we're no longer allowed to be poor, even if we want to be. I wonder if we're no longer allowed, in some fundamental ways, to be responsible.

We confuse love and sentimentality. Jesus, love incarnate, seems to me often thornily unsentimental. I suspect that a lot of folks who prattle on about their love of the Lord, wouldn't have liked him very much. Remember that catch phrase that was going around a few years ago... "I love you, even if I don't like you." What a pious saw that is. I think only a mother, or a savior, can say it authentically. Most of the time, I'd rather be liked. Tastes more like love. And isn't nearly the wildfire hazard.

There are watering restrictions in effect, limiting sprinkling to certain days and hours. Not that it matters; our sprinkler system is broken. I almost singlehandedly persuaded the board, in the interest of water conservation, to not have it repaired, and let nature take its course. Sometimes going brown is a way to be 'green.' We're allowed to hand-water though, any time, for ten minutes. This is a set-aside in the restrictions that I sometimes indulge, late in the day. There is something relaxing about just standing there, waving a gurgling hose over parched and grateful grass. My neighbor Sara, an avid gardener, will join me in conversation, telling me about her newly planted mango sapling, while watching the rivulets at our feet slither minutely away. She'll bring me something from her kitchen. She turned up a couple days ago with a scoop of rice pudding in a teacup. She likes me.