The first fall storm spun in from the Bering Sea, while the tides were high. Rain pummeled the Gulf and small streams filled their deep summer soils. In a yard that isn’t yet mine, I stand by a deafening diesel truck to watch a man pull the pump and pipe out of the well I want to use. I don’t understand why we’re doing this, I say. He agrees. The inspector doesn’t think the muni likes it like this, but I’ve read the regulations, and I’m not so sure. With a winch, the well technician pulls section after section, hundreds of feet of pipe, out of the casing and lays it all down on the ground, next to the severed pump. The problem is you gotta use it continuously, that’s what they wanna see, he says. So I need to pay you to put this back in after I buy this place? That’s right, he says. I shake my head. While he prepares to weld a cap on the casing, I look across the city and think of all of the wells sucking water like needles. 100 feet. 300 feet. 10 years, 50 years, 200 years. We hardly even know what’s down there: a little about the levels, a little about our wastewater, a lot left to the imagination. It’s nearly time for Persephone to descend below for winter, but sweet daughter, I want to keep her here.
Jessica Cherry, PhD is a scientist, writer, and commercial airplane pilot living in Anchorage and Fairbanks.