Holding Water

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Holding Water

By M.A. Dooley

I remember the first winery I designed in the middle of a level vineyard.

Construction began after the vines were removed and the earth was excavated for the foundation.

A big storm hit the northern Sonoma County and lasted for days.

At the jobsite meeting, the crew had erected a sign at the edge of a large body of captured rainwater where the future building would go. The sign read Lake Dooley, named after me, the architect. It was funny and I laughed.

I had great capacity for everything, hard work, men and their jokes, life. My lake would evaporate, percolate, and be drained and no one would ever know of Lake Dooley.

The spring of 2023 was too full to process. The snow and rain kept falling, the rivers were swollen, the thirsty earth saturated. The valley oaks turned sparkling emerald. Front yards were lush. Lakes filled up. My home state, region, county and backyard was amplified with aliveness.

 All this water was a promise of a future, but some absorbed the deluge and others drowned. The swollen rivers and runoff pushed over the levies and found the low spot.

Water returned home refilling Lake Tulare, a drained body purposed into agriculture and industry with homes built on her dry bed. The rain and snow melt filled the valley of Tulare to four times the size of Lake Tahoe’s surface. That’s something I’d like to see.

 The Spring of 2023 seems to correspond with my condition. I’m too full to process it all. There’s steady snow fall of activity, but the sun comes out hot and melty and quickly my dam overflows. It’s harder to keep it all within my capacity.

Maybe I had once been empty like Lake Tulare, purposed for my fertile ground, growing all manner of seeds for harvest. I could always take on more. More work, more play, more interests, but now, I am too full to process the present abundance of my own creation. I’m seeking a way to let the water out before I drown in Lake Dooley. 

M.A. Dooley is a writer from Sonoma County who frequently ventures to the Sierra Nevada range. Dooley has been published in “The Write Spot: Musings and Ravings in a Pandemic Year” (2021)  and “Poems of a Modern Day Architect,” Archhive Books, (2020)

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