Fall means hot mornings, thirsty fields, smoke in the air. There are days when, as John Muir wrote in 1894, the heat seems “to flow in tremulous waves from every southern slope.” This year, the dryness has a menacing, premonitory, permanent feel. Promised deluges turn into ten-minute mists, and a longed-for El Niño doesn’t come. The flies are bad. Lake beds, exposed, are full of old recliners and junked cars. Reservoirs have sunk to half capacity and are falling fast. In year three of a punishing drought, the terrible question arises: What if it just never rains again?
—Dana Goodyear in The New Yorker
The Dry Land
By Matt Black
California: Paradise Burning
By Sky Dylan-Robbins