The Blessed Rain

It’s been raining pretty much full-time for three days now, sometimes lightly, often steadily, and occasionally with a vengeance. Once or twice there’s been a smattering of hail. And it’s not about to stop; forecasts give it another three or four days before there’s even a hint of sun. I know this is the rainy time of year around here; and I know it’s good for the land, the farmers, etc. etc., but at times I find myself thinking, Enough, already!

Last week we had a couple of glorious days when temperatures were in the high seventies. Lovely! Now, along with endless rain, we have chilly weather: highs in the fifties, lows in the thirties and forties. (All Fahrenheit, of course.) It’s the end of May; I long for warm weather.

Still, living for the first time in a dry land, I cannot forget the value of water. Some seasons I check the rain index on the back of the newspaper’s first section every day, comparing what’s fallen this month to the month’s norm, then looking at the numbers for the year, what’s fallen and what’s normal. That’s four numbers for Bozeman. Then I check the numbers for Belgrade, fifteen miles west. Fifteen miles away and about five inches drier, because it’s out in the wide valley, while we’re tucked right up against the foothills of the Bridger mountains, where the clouds dump their loads of moisture before rising over the peaks and moving east.

Like much of the west throughout North America, we’ve had years of drought. My little corner has been luckier than most, but the threat of drought is still real. We watch the precipitation levels, and the river-flow levels, and we watch the snow-pack, because the snow-pack feeds the rivers, and the rivers feed the land, and the land feeds us.

If the snow-pack is low, that means a dry year. If a surge of hot weather comes early and melts the snow too quickly, that means floods. If the hot weather holds, melting the entire snow-pack by the end of June, that means floods and a dry year.

Winter banks our summer’s water in the snow-pack; we need a slow, frugal spring, releasing that wealth gradually. If it rushes from the mountains, it is gone, like money flung to the winds.

So I cannot entirely begrudge the rain, and the cold, which I know means that what falls as rain here falls as snow higher up.

Then too, when the clouds part and the mountains come briefly into view, streaked with white nearly to their knees, that’s a loveliness not to be disputed or denied.

8 Responses to The Blessed Rain

  1. That’s great!! I need rain pretty bad, we did get some rain the past few days but not enough!!
    Why do I think of Florida as always wet? Must be the influence of that old TV show, The Everglades. Hope you get your rain.
    –kate

  2. and theres me moaning about rain for 12 hours!!!!!!
    Feel free to moan. I’m seriously opposed to having to qualify somehow for misery. Anyway, it does leave time for baking, doesn’t it.
    Thanks for stopping by, Helen.
    –kate

  3. Having grown up mostly in the American southwest and now stuck gardening in central Texas, I find it difficult to look at rain as anything other than a blessing. There have been times, though, when my cup is overflowing. A little balance would be nice.
    Ah, balance–it’s we who have to keep our balance, I think, amidst all that nature sends us. (Sheesh, that sounds a little precious, doesn’t it. But I think I mean it–)
    Anyway, thanks for checking out the blog.
    –kate

  4. Although it seemed our winter dragged out forever, and despite the fact that we’ve had some cool, dull days this spring, we apparently need rain here in Nova Scotia already. I guess there’s no happy medium, no matter where you live. We take what we’re given. :)
    Yes, whether we want to or not. Somehow this is close to what I meant in my response to the last comment–we take what we’re given, and the best we can do is to keep our balance. This may be stretching a point, but it reminds me of Hamlet’s “The readiness is all.” Okay, I have to look it up, and here it is:
    “If it be now, ’t is not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.” He’s talking about death, his own death, but surely that equilibrium, that readiness, would help us face the wind and the weather.
    –kate

  5. Balance would be nice. We have unseasonably high winds here just now. The veg is clinging to the soil … just :(
    I am enjoying your blog Kate.
    Regards
    Karen
    Just read your post about wind damage (http://artistsgarden.wordpress.com/2008/05/26/after-the-winds/#comment-438)–incredible. Then I checked our weather on-line: one site says we’ve got 9mph winds with gusts up to 19–and it seems really windy. So, 46mph gusts? Sheesh.
    –kate

  6. Having lived for years in southeastern Idaho I also appreciate good rain. High desert and I don’t get along well! But yes, it’s been a few days here and I’d like to see some sun so I can mow the lawn =)
    When I first came west, it looked barren to me. Now, the east looks cluttered, overgrown. How perspectives can change. So do you ever feel as if you’re getting to much rain out there in Oregon, or do you soak up every drop?
    –kate

  7. We’re in the middle of a deluge, too. Know what you mean about ‘enough already’. Need the rain and all, but it’s all a bit much right now. I’m dashing around picking slugs and snails off all my veg, but the swines are still causing havoc on a grand scale…
    Havoc on a grand scale, eh? All due to itsy bitsy slugs and snails, eh? Well, it’s a hard life.
    –kate

  8. Another great post. It’s so easy to take water for granted. Here in Connecticut I suppose I curse when we get too much rain and not enough sun.. and then I just run my garden hose over and over…. Can’t take this stuff for granted!
    A lot of people in Atlanta learned that last year.
    –kate

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