Plains

Waterless Rivers

The storm was short and intense but the sky stayed gray long after the rain stopped. Walking outside, I saw little waterfalls cascading down the previously dry gullies that dotted the landscape. The stream – which hours before had been a grassy depression – was filling with water, turning what was a dry creek bed into a full, free-flowing stream. This was last July at my in-laws in eastern Colorado. In this semi-arid region (dry, but not quite a desert) all but the largest rivers are empty most of the time, waiting for the next storm to send water tumbling down their channels.