Puddle. Big Puddle.

Artificial lake? Don’t be silly, Isabel: It’s too small.

Slough? Again with the silliness: It’s too artificial.

Pond? Less silly, but somehow not right. A puddle it must be, although that brings to mind Dick and Jane splashing through much smaller bodies of water:

a small amount of water or other liquid,
especially rain (my emphasis)
that has collected in one place on the ground

Or on the asphalt, I guess.

A puddle is generally of a size to invite commentary like: “Don’t step in that puddle!”, because it’s so small you might not have noticed it. But this puddle is eminently noticeable: It is not small.

How not-small is it? Well, accurately estimating length-so-long-it-verges-on-distance is not my long suit, but here I can first estimate the length of that metal container and then scale up. So: fifteen feet? Twenty? It turns out I have changed the problem but not, you know, solved it. This is often the way of things.

On the other hand, nothing here really rides on precision. Let’s go with the 20, and guess that the length of this puddle is, oh, 70 feet. That lines up with what I can see of the fence: There look to be about 9 sections and I’m assuming a standard 8-foot length.  Close enough: We’re not commissioning a nuclear plant. We’re not even making a watch.

You might be wondering what we *are* making. Just another entry in my OMG list.

I first saw “this” puddle last year. The quotes are because presumably it wasn’t this water, but it was water in this location. I was surprised then. I’ve moved up to astounded.

Everywhere I have lived and travelled, the parking lot is the weak sibling. Their stingy layout (cleverly creating an apparent abundance of parking spots, but each one just a little too tight) and their generally poor maintenance indicate clearly that developers put parking lots in the “Meet the Minimum Specification” category. But this year-over-year neglect of standing water takes that strategy to a new level.

Last year, I assumed that the heavy rain of the day before had temporarily overwhelmed the parking lot’s drainage/runoff capacity. This year, after only a modest rain shower two or three days before, I wonder whether years of uneven settling have completely overset the intended drainage patterns. Is this now a Permanent Puddle?

When you have a bug you can’t fix,
highlight it and call it a feature.
Software development axiom

Me, I would accept that my parking lot has a new feature, hold a naming ceremony, and put in some water plants. Bring in some chairs and umbrellas, throw up a lemonade stand, and the whole thing could be a revenue source, if not quite a profit centre. This is the desert, for goodness sake: Water visibly collected in one place, even on asphalt, is at a premium. And hey. It’s not like there would be any fewer parking spaces.

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14 Responses to Puddle. Big Puddle.

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    I’m interested in the portable toilet in the background left. Does dipping one’s toes in this bug/feature lake produce an instant urinary response that must be responded to? Wouldn’t it be simpler to drain the lake, or whatever it is?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – The portable toilet is for the adjacent construction/development site, I believe. Something is going up on the corner – a restaurant, probably. They should charge them more for their waterfront patio. And I guess if it were simple to drain the water feature, it would have been done. It’s not like they could have missed it . . .

  2. Tom Watson says:

    I guess it’s one of those “it is what it is” things.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Indeed. I’d appreciate a sign of explanation, but I think there’s no benefit for them in that. So the wondering, too, will have to be what it is.

  3. Could it be an oasis? A hidden crack in the pavement might give that tree the water its roots seek. Water from somewhere is keeping those palm trees upright. Although, as I recall, they have root systems like those of the pine trees here that can spread over a surprisingly thin few inches of soil on rocks and fall flat in a brisk wind.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – Sure! If they’d let me name it, I’d go with some kind of oasis reference. (And that gives us another musical link, as in “Midnight at…”.) It’s surprising how many big trees this area will support. The cottonwoods I get: they grow only along river/streams and tolerate long periods of dryness. The others likely follow the path you describe – widespread root systems – and/or onboard water-storage capacity, like the big saguaro cacti. When they’re “full up”, they weight a ton and, as you say, can go down in a big wind.

  4. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – the real question is, “How deep is it”, not “How big is it?”

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – 🙂 Standing beside it, it doesn’t look very deep – not more than a few inches, I’d say. Like, not as much as 5 inches at its deepest. I could wade into it with my measuring tape, but I’m not inclined to.

  5. barbara carlson says:

    I am surprised it doesn’t evaporate.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – I expect it does, eventually. I’ll keep an eye on it (assuming it doesn’t rain again soon!).

      • John Whitman says:

        For Barbara – if you check the dark area just above and along the edge of the water, you’ll see that it has already evaporated quite a bit.

        • Isabel Gibson says:

          John (& Barbara) – The Evaporating Oasis! See it before it’s gone! [Why don’t they call me? :-)]

  6. I am curious to learn whether, in places where water is scarce, any standing accumulation of water might be respected too much to dispose of it. You can test my theoretical question when you have nothing more important to ask your wintertime friends.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – An interesting perspective. I’ll see if I can get any feedback on it. I tend to a “follow the money” analysis – if it’s not costing them anything for the water to be there, well, there’s no need to do anything.

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