They say it is a record storm, and I feel we are in the peak of it right now. Last night it came down like crazy – or as they call it these days, there was an “atmospheric river” that poured steadily from the sky for a solid 12 hours, until mid-morning. A misty cloud has engulfed our little valley since then, during this hiatus from the next tempest`. They say it is due later tonight, and will be stronger than the last. Time to batten down the hatches.
But you’ll hear no complaints from me, or anyone else around here. That includes the animal kingdom and the plants and trees and the thirsty soil, all parched after some years of drought. Last year was pretty good, but this year this rain has been truly awesome. Our local paper reported that this current storm, which could bring up to 12 inches of rain, is said to be the biggest in 10 years. Bring it on!
Our rainy season in the hills of Mendocino County starts in late September. This year as of Jan 5, over 41 inches of rain have already been recorded. The average for this time of year is 28.67 inches, so that’s pretty impressive. However, what is most important is that the rains need to continue into the late spring, so the well-drenched soil and fragile streams can more easily make it though the parched dry summer here. We want the mountains to be thickly covered with “wet snow” (as opposed to “dry snow” – that really exists) so the rivers and creeks of California will have a head start on another hot summer.
Living life on the edge of the forest is such a different world than in the heart of San Francisco. I don’t recall ever having any “Hazardous Weather Conditions” there, other than dense fog thick enough to choke you. But up here in the hills there are summer warnings for dry thunder storms and subsequent fires, which can be frightening. At this time of year, it’s all about the storms and flood watches and high winds as well as mud slides, fallen trees and downed power lines. Right now, the nice little photos of the sky on the National Weather Service on-line page are layered with rain and snow and surrounded by brilliant yellow blocks of color to warn you. I think I get the picture: stay home as much as possible, cozy by the fire.
Experiencing the seasons is a wonderful thing. Again, growing up in San Francisco was like living in a moist cloud all year long, making it difficult to tell one season from the next. Out here in the country though it is in your face, and I love it. Trees loose their leaves, and I notice. New plants begin to sprout spring shoots, and I notice it. If a bobcat walks across the road and leaves his unique scat, encapsulated in woven hair, I stop to check it out. There’s something interesting every way I look, and it is all so alive!
So when the rain keeps coming for the next few days, and at times I may get a bit stir-crazy, I’ll stop and remember how precious each drop is. It is mana from heaven, our very sustenance, and here in California we recognize that blessing. So let it rain, let it snow … in 10 days we will be in South India where it is a high of 86 and a low of 70 right now, and it is all perfect. All blessings.