So, this morning it rained.
I know that means nothing (or less than nothing) to everyone who doesn’t live on in California, but to us—to me—rain is a Big Deal. When I woke up and, after creaking out of bed, shuffled into the kitchen for coffee, my mom said (she was already up and in there) “My newspaper was in a puddle.”
I blinked at her. “A puddle?” Unless someone had come along in the night with a secret watering can and anonymously watered the potted hosta in the covered hall outside our apartment door, that sounded impossible.
“Yes, I think it might have rained a little bit overnight.”
I didn’t believe it. For the last week the weather guys on TV had been talking about the slight rain that just might happen by today, building up our hopes. But by yesterday they were assuring us that it was nothing to get excited about. Maybe the far, far north end of the state might get a light sprinkling, and the highest-elevation Sierras might see an inch or two of snow, but the rest of us were going to be dry as an old bone in the Sahara. In fact, in a couple of months, they might even change the name of the state to “Sahara II.”
I gimped over to the window and pushed the vertical shades aside a little. And gasped, because the parking lot was wet. Wet! “OMG, Mom!” I cried, “it’s raining!”
Unless you’ve lived someplace where a bona fide drought has set in, you probably can’t really imagine how good seeing a wet parking lot and puddles with raindrops making little rings in them make me feel. “Mom,” I said, “I bet the weather guys told us it wasn’t going to rain just so when we got up this morning, we’d get this great surprise! Wasn’t that nice of them?”
She gazed at me, unmoved.
“All the different weather guys from all the local TV and radio stations must have had a conference call! ‘Let’s not tell them it’s going to rain,’ I bet they said, ‘so everyone will get this great surprise when they get up in the morning!’”
Mom just looked back at her damp newspaper. She didn’t have to say anything. Her whole demeanor said “Oh, right. That totally happened.” Obviously, the weather guys just miscalculated a little, which is just so much less interesting to think about. Oh, well.
So I just poured my coffee, took my morning pills, and shuffled back to my room, where I sat looking out the window at the rain for a while. The gray sky and all the wet plants and trees and cars and stuff just sort of ease my soul, even though I know this little rain isn’t going to have any effect on the drought. Sunny California is a wonderful thing, but like any wonderful thing, you can get too much of it. We’ve had four years of too much of it.
It’s not raining hard. It’s a typical California rain. You can go outside without an umbrella because most of the time you’re not going to get very wet unless you stand out there for 15 minutes or so. But I’m absolutely not complaining. I’ll take any kind of rain the weather gods want to toss at us, particularly if it snows in the mountains. That’s where nearly all of the state’s year-round supply of water comes from—and there’s almost none up there right now.
So, it’s still damp and cool, and the pavement and earth is still wet, but the rain has stopped. It continued to fall for about two hours, which was heavenly, and the cool, rain-fresh air is lovely. And, now that the rain stopped and the barometer is starting to rise again, I’m feeling the change in my hands, hips, and feet.
That was another nice thing about the rain this morning: I barely hurt when I got out of bed. Usually I’m as stiff as the Tin Man, and as soon as I put my feet on the floor, they hurt. When I pick up my robe to put it on, my hands yelp at me. And as I walk, the bursitis in my hips starts aching, deep inside each one.
But this morning, after a night during which the barometer bottomed out and stayed there, all that was mercifully silent. I slept well, too, from about 11 a.m. until 5 a.m. when my bladder woke me up, and then again until 6:45. It was good, restful sleep, the kind I’d just about kill for most other nights.
Now the rain is done. The weather guy on the TV just said this little storm system is on its way out. I haven’t checked the barometer, but I know it’s rising again because my hands, feet, and hips are starting to hurt again. Tomorrow is supposed to be another beautiful day, sunny and warm, and by weekend, the temperature will be in the low 80s.
I’m glad I got to enjoy the rain for a little while. It was so nice.