Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Contrast in Rain

I am a single drop of rain, falling from the sky

I fall fast and hard on a single leaf at the top of the forest canopy;
I break apart.
My daughters fall slower and softer on the leaves below;
Until they break apart.
My granddaughters fall slower and softer still;
Over and over;
Until they either rest on the leaves or fall to the soil, ready to venture down into the soil matrix where they are pulled up to through the tree to nourish it and be released into the air once more.

But if I fall in the city, my story is very different.

Instead of landing on many surfaces and being absorbed by the soil, I land on a hard roof or road.
I join my sister raindrops, travelling in a fast current and speeding up as if on a roller coaster, picking up leaves, debris, trash, chemicals, and topsoil and washing them away.
Faster and faster still, I travel at breakneck speed until I reach a river, and eventually the ocean.
I have fed no one;
I have polluted the river, the ocean;
And I have drained the fertility of the soil.

Water left on site feeds an ecosystem;
Water lost to runoff feeds no one.

But what if our buildings were more like trees, our streets more like the fertile soil?
They would drink me, clean me, store me, and eventually release me to the sky again!
Nourishing an ecosystem and the diversity of life.
By learning from the forest, our communities can do the same.


- Amy Coffman Phillips