What about that drought? It really made us sit up and take notice about water, didn’t it? We are not sure that the drought is over but it is now raining and that’s a good thing. It feels like the wait for the rain has taken years. The new rain might be the result of El Nino, but it’s probably just a winter storm. Since it’s been such a loooong time since the last rain, we need to be reminded of a few things that the rain brings with it. In our little corner of wine country, the rain reminds us once again that:

— Gutters are something that need occasional attention. Gutters need to be cleaned. The problem is that gutters are attached to the roof and are hard to reach. The spot in the gutter that always needs to be cleaned the most is also the most difficult to reach. So I have one of the kids hold on to my ankles while I hang out the window on the second floor and try to free up that one complicated spot that clogs the world.

— Roofs don’t leak when it doesn’t rain. This goes without saying. On the first day of a rainstorm it’s tough to get a roofer to take a look at that leak around the back door. Until the roofer can get here, I think we need a bigger pot to catch the drip.

— Frogs like the rain. Frogs and other reptiles come out with joy after the first real rain. The frogs especially like to play practical jokes on us. A three-toed (fingered?) frog was in my boot this morning and surprised me. We all lived to tell the story.

— Gravel can turn to mud very quickly. I thought we had a gravel driveway. Turns out we have a rocky path that is full of muddy holes along the way. Low spots are more than the depression we all get on Monday morning on the way to work. The rain shows us that what we thought was a flat lot turns out to be like a topographic map.

— Anything outside that requires electricity doesn’t work. Shorted out and rain is redundant. When things dry out in June, the lights over the barbecue will work again. In the meantime, cook the chicken with a flashlight and hope the guests like it medium rare.

— Burn piles really are for burning and they are now on fire. Some of the piles are so big they look like a bonfire from a football game in Texas in the ’60s. Let’s get rid of that stuff on one of those few days when we are allowed to; burn, baby, burn, but be safe.

— On a brighter note, grapevines in winter are perfectly happy to be up to their necks in muddy water. They have been thirsty for a long time and now they are drinking it up, literally.

The last time I went for a walk in the big vineyards, as in those vineyards that have reservoirs, I was shocked. I had never seen the water level in the reservoirs so low. The footprints in the mud were from all the local wildlife trying to find a drink or something to eat. The fish must have been suffering in what little water they had to share. In April the water is 20 feet deep and blue, in December the water is 20 inches deep and brown. So bring it on. Rain, we welcome you.

By the end of December we may be ready for the rain to go find another place to dump the load. But for now, let’s enjoy every drop, every puddle, every short in the electric system, every leak and every clogged gutter. It’s been too long.

Richard Moran roams around the valley in a happy mood singing in the rain.


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