It’s been raining in the valleys, the snow accumulating in the mountains that thrust urgent, pinnacled barriers toblock the clouds and wring them out over the desert lands as rain. Mainly they hoard snow until forced to give it up by heat. Utahans love to get lots of snow in the mountains for many reasons, one of the most important being the ski industry upon which we depend for a good part of our prosperity. “Skiing contributes $1.29 billion to Utah’s economy and creates 20,000 jobs for the state” (Daily Herald). But I am thinking about next summer. The picture above was taken in an alpine valley, mid-summer. The lush, healthy plants have a short growing season as the snows eventually melt, the sun hits fiercely and quickly, then autumn comes.

But on the Wasatch front valleys where we grow food, shower, maintain a zoo, display Temple Square, play in the sprinklers, wash cars and spread golf courses, if we don’t have enough snow, a drought brings a lot of misery and worry. That snow is our bank account for prosperity throughout the year, and we hope and pray it will be frequent and abundant.

Authorities encourage us to save our water, mete it out wisely, cherish its abundance. In our family water bookkeeping, we try to avoid waste, but I don’t have what it takes to  get into a cold shower, so some goes running down to the water treatment plant. Some people actually catch the cold water and pour it on the garden, but my shower is on the second floor.

Besides, in winter water seems so abundant, everlasting. It’s kind of like a credit card that has no limit–except the consequences of overspending can be very unpleasant. Every year in about October our area opens an account that may or may not have a healthy balance. Our many reservoirs may be showing barren rims that stretch down, sometimes to mere puddles. We watch the weather forecast as fervently as a beggar waits for something to use for a meal.

That snow in the mountains determines our local prosperity in the coming year as surely as the security of the national monetary situation. We are dependent upon forces we cannot control or adjust except in individual efforts to be thrifty stewards of what we receive, using it wisely, cherishing every drop. As we use it, it evaporates or runs into the Great Salt Lake to be transformed by evaporation into minerals we refine, brine shrimp for feeding fish, recreation and beauty. Although the lake is getting lower over time, we keep hoping that the snows will come each year to affect every industry and business, every plant and person inhabiting this beautiful, fragile economy governed by snowfall. PMA

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