Ancient Mariner’ foretold water woes

In 1832, English writer Samuel Taylor Coleridge published a prescient tale, The Rime (sic) of the Ancient Mariner. Most schoolchildren at some point either encounter the most famous short quote from this poem, or perhaps read the whole thing. The line is: “Water, water, everywhere, Yet not a drop to drink.”
The mariner was stranded aboard a ghost ship, an albatross tied about his neck. Fellow crewmen on the vessel did that because the mariner had shot the bird, invoking superstitious fear of bad luck.
Now Californians face even worse luck. What if the state ran out of water for drinking, bathing, cooking, cleaning, filling auto radiators, washing windows, making snow, manufacturing, and the countless other ways people use water? That would be not merely bad luck, but disaster.
Fortunately, although the historic California drought has not yet been fully broken, recent weather has poured rain onto parched soil, piled up beautiful fresh powder at Heavenly Valley, and perhaps begun long-needed relief.
In fact, forecasts claim a monster El Niño may cause flooding, mudslides and other disasters in the West Coast states. Seems it never rains, but it pours. Maybe Coleridge was not too gloomy, after all.


Lange Winckler