I went to the woods in order to live more deliberately...but I only stayed for a day. Christine, Scott and I camped at Wish Poosh, which is not only a clean, private campground, but also has a name that is really fun to say. From our site it was a 15-minute walk to the shore at Lake Cle Elum.
Because of the drought, standing on the shore of the lake felt like being in another part of the world, somewhere exotic and accessible only by mules. The water level is 20 or so feet below normal, so from the water's edge you look up a cliff of tumbled rocks and exposed stumps and unpredictable ground that is not usually exposed to footsteps. At one point Scott's foot went right into a shin-deep mud patch, which was something he didn't really enjoy. The wind was up, too, and the surface waves were huge and glittering with silt. There is no way I would have gone swimming in that lake if it weren't for Scott, who is fearless about water. He immediately charged in, while I kept watching his head and waiting for it to vanish in the waves. But it didn't, so he was able to convince me to give it a whirl. The lake was surprisingly warm, and once I got used to the waves, it was like being in the ocean, jumping swells for fun.
Because of that trip, though, I have a real understanding of the drought. The boat dock is closed because it's completely dry. Picnic Island is now Picnic Peninsula, since you can walk right over to it. The exposed waterline looks so desolate, so barren, so unfamiliar with the hot white daylight. It's spooky.
I'm from New England, a watery place, full of ponds and mosquitos, where in August you can wring out the air. There's always some part of my brain that calculates all the people that live here versus the thin trickle of creeks and rivers that feed us. I have been able to adjust to the different trees and the desert heat, but the water, or lack thereof, still makes me uneasy.