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My daughter works in a bicycle store that tracks the weather closely, for both customer flow and customer info. She tells me this part of Vancouver Island, hit by a pleasant summer but record drought, is expected to see 20-30 milliliters of rain a day for a few days. That is more or less an inch a day. Fantastic.
 
Almost everybody will welcome it; the trees, gardens, the asthmatics, the chinook salmon upIsland that can’t swim up the Cowichan River because water levels have been too low. Seals at the river mouth have been munching them as the fish gather and wait for higher freshwater flows.
 
Catalyst paper mill nearby needs fresh water to operate, and it also helps supply the town. Government wheels were grinding too slow to approve releasing more water. Everybody felt caught in a bind, but today, after consulting community stakeholders, Catalyst decided to take what it called a high risk for its business, and release a pulse of water downstream. The mill has a large workforce in an area without a lot of other jobs. That’s how much we value salmon here on the West Coast.
 
And readers throughout the English-speaking world will welcome our local rain, if it comes as promised. It could perhaps sufficiently top up the Catalyst mill’s already low water supply.
Why should you care? The mill has orders to fulfill, reportedly including book paper to print Fifty Shades of Gray. Really.
 
Salmon and jobs and gardens and drinking water and seals, all entangled in the one amazing web that also includes what and how we read. I feel I’ve been given a wondrous glimpse into something.

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