Friday, December 7, 2007


All night the rain clattered on our aluminum awning. What a welcome sound, knowing that the thirsty earth is finally getting a good long drink.

I remember back in 1997 when an El Nino phenomena caused torrential rains and flooding in California. I lived on high ground in Twain Harte where overflowing gutters were the worst of our problems, but I remember driving down Phoenix Lake Road and seeing Sullivan Creek raging with red-brown churning water that looked more like a river than a creek. I've never lived in a flood zone. Even now that I live in deep in a river canyon, my house sits atop a knoll where rain water rushes downhill away from my place in several directions. The road into this area before climbing to my knoll descends along the base of Table Mountain where the drainage called Bear Creek collects water that spills in spectacular waterfalls in several places. At one point, the road crosses Bear Creek, and I imagine that in 1997 this bridge may have been impassable at times.

The forecasters say we are experiencing La Nina this season which is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, compared to El NiƱo, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. El Nino means lots of rain for us, but La Nina mean less rain and colder than normal temperatures during the winter months.

All I know is that until this rain, I still had to water my yard a couple times a week which feels ridiculous in December and which I often forgot to do until I saw a sorry looking plant that was still finishing off its growing season. Since I haven't planted any veggies for a winter garden, something I always intend to do but never get around to in the fall, I'm less tuned into my yard's needs. Add to that an injury that has made it difficult to rake leaves and my garden is suffering from human neglect along with near drought conditions caused by La Nina.

. . . but that was before this lovely rain arrived to soak the earth and serenade my sleep.


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