I took my dog to the acequia madre today. The irrigation district burns or poisons the vegetation away, and they stopped irrigating some weeks back. There is little to look at other than a moonscape of rocks, sand, broken concrete, the occasional clot of garbage, and puddles of doomed fish.
I don’t know whether the fish always die every time they stop irrigating or whether they just live in the canal all season until the end of the season. It probably depends on what the year’s water allocation is and thus how frequently the canal is filled. It takes awhile for the standing water to all evaporate or seep away into the ground.
I’ve seen this before, and the ultimate aftermath of piles of rotting carcasses. I never see anyone eating the fish, dead or alive. Surely some hawk or raccoon must find this brutally created buffet of interest?
Maybe they do, and there just aren’t enough of them. The vultures have long gone south.
It’s hard to watch. Today the fish were flopping around in a puddle only deep enough to cover them halfway, desperately trying to keep themselves hydrated and aerated.
I almost never run across another human on foot by the acequia. They race by on their ATV’s, they drive by in their trucks, taking shortcuts or avoiding the streets for some reason, perhaps off to perform some irrigation-related task. And sometimes, if I’m fortunate, there are no vehicular humans at all for awhile.
I like the acequia during the summer, in the evenings or early mornings. There are birds, different ones than those I see in town. And sometimes they haven’t burned it yet.
In winter, it has its own still beauty as well. But this is the in-between time, the time of the slow, grim, pointless deaths. I’d forgotten about this. I hadn’t been there for awhile.