Like a stressed foreign aid mission showing up long after the disaster has struck, municipal workers descended on a small patch of city property at the corner of Cascade and Monument this morning to restore the flow of water to severely parched and dry sod, plant life and trees that inhabit the place.

If I were to judge by appearance what the chances of survival were at this late date, I would be less than sanguine over the odds of success. The workmen, undaunted, behaved like first responders sizing up an ongoing catastrophe. While busy testing valves, sprinkler heads, and locating buried control boxes, I asked what the chances of survival were. The foreman, who peered at me as if I were the hundredth person to ask today, replied bluntly, “It will come back.”

Only a few days earlier, out of frustration, pride and pity, I had cleared the raised planter of dead and dying plants, cut back the rose bushes, mowed the tall grass and hauled away trash.

Living in the vicinity of the endangered plot for the past several years, I use it almost daily to play ball with my dog Sade. Until now, I had never seen it as barren and utterly inhospitable, even in the worst years of the drought of the late 90’s and early 00’s. A recent rain however had given some hope to me and the surviving flora. Now, seeing the city crew on site added to that hope

I’d like to think that pressure was brought to bear on the city to begin watering this park, by a few of the scores of runners who participate in the Tuesday downtown mini-marathon, as they headed down the home stretch on Cascade Avenue. I’d like to think that some one at Park and Rec. took the time to calculate the cost of replacing all of the lost vegetation at some future date. I’d like to think that our city’s reputation was considered in light of (negative) national press reports some of us deem necessary to our existence.

What ever it took, it worked.

The trucks and crew have left for the day and in theory have tested and timed the system to begin operating by this evening. Whether further aid will come in the form of fertilizer and weed killer is yet to be seen. But, with the most grueling days of summer still ahead, it will be a race to see if this fourth quarter attempt will be enough to be victorious or if nature will ultimately prevail.

If it’s anything like the Gulf Spill, we’re in for a long hot summer.

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Comment by Travis Duncan on June 22, 2010 at 4:04pm
Great story, Frank! This story will be in tomorrow's Fountain Valley print edition. Your Father's Day story will be in the Westside edition. Great stuff!



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