Pete and I recently had a house guest from Los Angeles. After dinner, she made a beeline for the kitchen sink and the soapy dishpan I’d set up before we sat down. Washing up proved quick with everything in place, but I watched quietly from across the kitchen as she rinsed with even less water than I would have imagined possible. Ah, I thought, she lives in a desert. The rules are different. Then we got almost no rain for three weeks while, north and south of us, we saw Wrath of God storms speeding across weather maps. Lawns baked brown and trees lost their leaves. Bees get angry, and you just don’t want your bees angry.I was raised by hippies and hairdressers, both of which cared about water conservation, though for different reasons. The former urged us kids to turn off the spigot because clean water is a finite commodity; the latter because water costs money, goddammit, and we are not made of money. I’m pretty careful with my resources, but not perfect. We use a rain barrel but could use three or four more. We are accustomed to water falling out of the sky every three or four days. When it stopped, we felt shitty and when it started again, better. I’ve been sick for two days and couldn’t get out of bed until 10 this morning. A full day of gentle rain? Bring it. All of this is to say the rain caused me to look out the empty bedroom window. In June, I sat in the backyard, pitting cherries with an old plastic cherry pitter when – THWACK! – the pieces in my hands flew apart and the spring disappeared. The cherry pitter recently disintegrated in my hands a final time and I threw away little pieces of a former kitchen gadget. A paring knife turns out to pit faster anyhow, and we find so few of those on the roof.