Rain


 

 

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Early, in that land between wakefulness and dreams, it started to rain.  It rarely rains here in the morning; I thought I was dreaming.  Several hours later it is still raining.  Last night the weather forecaster said we are actually a little ahead of normal for the year, an unheard of event in recent years when endless drought reigned.  Because I am thinking none of  you who read my blog posts will believe it is really raining that much after reading numerous posts about drought, I decided to take some photos of the cloudiness and wet.

 

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The following poem was written when it had not rained in a long time like this spring when it had not rained for months.  Now that is has started raining, it cannot seem to stop, certainly a better situation than several months ago when 50 houses in a nearby town burned down because of a giant wildfire.

 

 

 

It’s raining!  It’s raining!

It has not rained in more than a month.

I run out the door,

spreading my arms skyward.

I laugh out loud, dancing in the rain.

A smile smears joyfully across my face.

I run across the patio,

rain drops pelleting my face, my arms.

I laugh out loud, dancing in the rain.

My dog stands, rivulets of rain running off her.

Usually she hates rain.

Lightning explodes, thunder booms bass,

the steel roof plays staccato music.

I laugh out loud, dancing in the rain.

A New Day


Guessing today’s post will be written in pieces.  It is now 11:55 in the morning and this is at least a start.  Yesterday, a friend posted this on Facebook.  Its message appealed to me so much that I downloaded it because I wanted to post it here:

 

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A lot of young people and even older ones seem to struggle to discover who they are, what they stand for, their life’s purpose or even if they have one.  Not me.  Somehow, in spite of struggles as to the best way to express it, I always knew. In some ways, I think I owe this knowledge to my parents who always accepted and encouraged ME to be ME.  In fact, my current work relates closely to what I said I wanted to be when I was in high school:  a college professor, actually a philosophy professor.  I teach high school now.  Yes, about my third career or maybe even fourth, but my first real one was a college administrator.  When I received my BA in English first in my class, my professors tried to talk me into going to grad school in literature.  At that time, English professors were the proverbial a dime a dozen so I went to grad school and studied higher education administration.  Later, I almost went to law school–was accepted at several good ones, but grad school gave me money so I did that.  If I had to do it over?  I would go to law school.  I would have made a great kick butt lawyer because I don’t give a damn what people think except for one thing.  I do not want others to think I’m stupid, but that never occurs so I need not worry.  Regardless, I feel happy with my life and my work, really happy.

12:25 am Guess it is technically tomorrow.  About fifteen minutes ago, I returned home from a party at the house of my friend from Ethiopia.  Guests included many Ethiopians and also a number of people born here and lots of Ethiopian food.  Since I am going there in less than a month, I will then be providing more reports on food, including my experiences in learning how to make some of it.

I had to run in the rain to get to my vehicle when I left their house.  Running in the rain is not a common experience here.  Weather has gone from drought to day after day of rain.  Apparently, a part of my house thinks it is too much because I found a small lake in part of my bedroom when I returned home.  Therefore, instead of hopping into bed, I have been mopping up water.  Now I am waiting on five bath towels to go through the spin cycle so I can mop some more.  Repairmen are going to have fun trying to locate the leak.  My guess is it not where one might think.  Oh, the joys of home ownership.

Mop time.

Photos from a late spring evening


After completing the horse chores, I decided to take a walk and photograph the new green.  This time two weeks ago, everything except the juniper trees was brown and dry.  Some of the native bushes had not even shown their usual spring leaves.  Many plants in arid and semi-arid environments lie dormant until the rains come.  Five inches in five days transformed the landscape here.  And it brought out hordes of mosquitoes, but that’s another story.

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A wildflower, sundrops, a type of primrose, grows in even dry hard soil as you can see here.

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A few sundrops had even come out before the rain, but many more are visible now.

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Hard to believe the sudden greenness.  What a difference water makes.

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Three species of juniper grow where I live.  Some people have told me these trees are hundreds of years old.

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Looking across the canyon from my house I see various cavelike places such as the one here.  Great places for the foxes, coyotes, and bobcats to live.

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Blackfoot daisies, tough, drought tolerant, enduring, a favorite because they grow everywhere and anywhere all summer.  When they appear among flowers and bushes I have actually planted, I just leave them there.  They provide a kind of perky joy.

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Green everywhere and they predict thunderstorms for the next several days.  At 100 degrees today, the green would not last long without more rain.

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These little red spots appeared in clusters here and there everywhere as I strolled around.  I think they are the beginnings of a plant but I have no idea what.

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Both lavender and catmint do well here.  In the background last year thyme spread everywhere, but for the first time in several years, it died out over the winter.

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Mexican bird of paradise, also called desert bird of paradise, is one of my favorites.  This is just the beginning of a truly spectacular bloom.

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In the background Greek oregano grows.  Along my rock retaining wall Mediterranean plants seem to grow well.

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Blackfoot daisies growing in native grass.  All this was brown except for the daisies two weeks ago.

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Most of the flowers which do well here or are wild seem to be purple or yellow.  Salvia does well, but it is barely in bloom.

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A type of dalea, this very drought tolerant shrub grows everywhere wild around my place.  If there is no rain, it does nothing and looks dead.

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This is another plant that looked dead two weeks ago and then suddenly a couple of day ago came out in full bloom.  I have looked through two wildflower books and still remain uncertain as to the name of this plant.  If some reader out there knows, please email me the name or comment on this post.

Living here on the rim of wonder gives me great joy.

Family Road Trip–Day Four


No rushing around this morning.  We wanted to stop by Old Towne, stroll around, and have lunch.  We doubted shops would open before ten.  After all the rain, everything sparkled in the morning sun.  We found a parking space–often extremely difficult to find there–on the west side of the church by the square and headed east in front of the church.  Because it was early or because of the rain earlier, it seemed much less hectic than usual.  We chatted with shop keepers, bargained, wandered.  My grandson announced he was very hungry so we sat outside at the Hacienda (I think that is the name of the restaurant we go to near the square–we just go and never pay attention to its name).  All I wanted was fry bread.  First, I dipped it in the salsa then switched to honey.  After this relaxing leisurely lunch, we finished our walk around the square and headed to Astro Zombie in Nob Hill.  I think my grandson could go there every day.

 

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Arrived home, fed Rosie, unpacked, and checked for water damage.  It rained almost 4 1/2 inches while we were gone.  That averages almost an inch a day for the last five days.  The weather forecasters predict possibilities for rain the rest of the week.  Some people in low lying areas of Amarillo experienced flooding in their homes.  That is what occurs when developers fill in playas and build houses there.  But that is another blog post for another day.

My daughter called to read me my grandson’s second blog post.  He asked me last night while we lounged at the hotel to help him start a blog.  He posted his first post last night.

Waking up for work will come sooner than I want.  Happy dreams!!

Family Road Trip-Day One


This afternoon, my daughter, grandson, and I headed toward Albuquerque on our first family road trip since last summer when we went to California.  We started late due to the rain causing a leak in a hallway in my house, not just any leak, a very large leak.  Whenever it rained–and it kept raining off and on, so much water accumulated that rapid drips fell to the floor from a dime sized hole in the ceiling.  Now a big black bucket resides on the floor underneath it.  Finally, I found someone to come out and take a look so he at least has some idea what the problem may be.  Nothing toward fixing it will occur until next week.  This will be no tiny project; first the facia has to come off part of the roof so they can locate the cause.  Then, well, it depends on what they find.  The young lady watching the house and caring for Isabella and Rosie can empty a bucket as well as I can so we decided to go ahead and take our weekend road trip.

This storm system covers a wide swath.  Rain signs all the way here, hail enough in one place to cover the sides of Interstate 40 like a light snow, and a deluge coming down from the pass into Albuquerque.  I hate driving in a hard rain; thankfully, my daughter was driving.

We went to dinner about 6:30 at our favorite Italian restaurant, Cabo’s.  I know it seems strange that any visitor to Albuquerque would eat Italian food here.  We discovered this restaurant years ago and always return every time we visit.  We even have certain memories of happenings there–like the time an amusing guy at another table “hit on” one of my handsome exchange students.  Our other favorite restaurant here is only slightly off the square in Old Towne; I have no idea its name.  I go there for the fry bread/sopapillas.  I order other things, but that is really what I want.  Theirs seem different in a subtle, indescribable way.

Now I sit here writing at the hotel swimming pool.  I cannot imagine what my grandson would do in a hotel without a swimming pool.  It remains his first desire anywhere we stay.  He did survive a recent trip to Austin when it was too cold for the pool outside.–perhaps because he discovered the Dragon’s Lair, a little bit of heaven for gamers who love Magic.  His ten year old self is now on the third Harry Potter book.  He informed us at dinner how he deals with life when he is “grounded” from all electronics–he goes into the magic of his imagination.

 

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At the Italian restaurant a couple of years ago during Christmas holidays.

 

 

Panhandle Weather


After many rainless months, it decided to rain and won’t stop it.  Yesterday I wrote about a nice gentle rain, a rarity here.  Today came the deluge.  It rained over an inch in one hour.  The rain hit the west windows of my house so hard that at first I thought it was hail.  When I watched, it looked like a giant bucket of water poured on them continuously.  Then the water falls started.  When I first moved here nearly six years ago, a lot of rain brought only one giant waterfall most of the time.  More recently a lady built a house closer than I would like.  She cleared off a lot of native grass, various native bushes, and a number of juniper trees.  Even with the grass she planted, water runs off her property onto mine in a little river.  It runs so rapidly it is creating a small arroyo which gets deeper each time it rains.  Since they predict thunderstorms for the next few days, if it keeps this up we might have a chance to catch up a little on the rain.  Hopefully, next time the rain will flow more gently.  When it gushes like this afternoon and evening, rocks, dirt, debris wash onto my drive.  After the first round of rain, dirt lay more than an inch deep in some places and rocks lay scattered about.  I managed to clean off the worst of the dirt before the rain began again.

Living here in the Panhandle of Texas demands an new attitude about weather.  Expect anything.  I’ve seen it drop 50 degrees in an hour, go from 40 at night to 80 plus the next day, rain dirt, blow dust like fog, snow two feet and a couple of days later reach 55.  To an outsider, this may sound dreadful but I find numerous pluses:  the sun shines most days; it is not humid; summer days can be a bit of heaven on earth even if hot during the day–perfect evenings for lounging on the patio with food, friends, and wine; winter does not last forever and neither do the winter clouds.  Winter in the Midwest is downright gloomy.  Not here.

Now I am going to bed, hoping lightning streaks and thunder rolls do not awaken me at 3 in the morning.

Rain


Gradually, the clouds increased and the weather forecaster predicted rain tonight and tomorrow–a 30 per cent chance and even better chances toward the weekend.  After months of rainless days and nights, dust storms, and weather extremes, I hardly believed it.  On the way home from work, I stopped to buy two guara and one rosemary to replace those that died over the winter, an unusual occurrence; both usually make it through.  After feeding Rosie, I decided to plant them in case the forecaster’s predictions held.  Not really believing rain would come, I watered them, adding root stimulator.

The sprinkles started, but only a little, what people here call a “12 inch rain”–one drop every 12 inches.  It stopped, the wind blew harder, and a brown dust fog filled the canyon.  I shut the windows.  I almost went out to start the sprinkler.  Suddenly, lightning struck somewhere near the house, thunder boomed.  The sprinkles continued to start and stop with intermittent lightning and thunder.  After having two TVs struck by lightning in the last six years even with surge protectors and turned off, I’m a little leery about lightning storms.  I left the TV and computer off and initially wrote this by hand.

Just as I started to walk outside, having given up on real rain, it started, not the crashing, thunderstorm rain we usually receive, but a gentle, steady, back East kind of rain.  I opened the windows, inhaling the rain smell.  As I write this, the rain continues; it’s now been nearly an hour with writing and interruptions from phone calls and me checking to make sure it is not raining in the windows or the French doors to the patio.  It plays a staccato tune on the green steel roof.

Three miles down the road in front of a house at the intersection of two country roads, a sign stands:  “In the name of Jesus pray for rain.”  Perhaps they have been praying hard.

Rain


It’s raining!  It’s raining!

It has not rained in more than a month.

I run out the door,

spreading my arms skyward.

I laugh out loud, dancing in the rain.

A smile smears joyfully across my face.

I run across the patio,

rain drops pelleting my face, my arms.

I laugh out loud, dancing in the rain.

My dog stands, rain running off her.

Usually, she hates the rain.

Lightning flashes, thunder echoes,

the steel roof plays staccato music.

I laugh out loud, dancing in the rain.

It’s raining!  It’s raining!

Yesterday, I started an online poetry class with the Story Circle Network.  The teacher is Lorraine Mejia-Green.  This week we are focusing on the poetry of Mary Oliver.  While I was reading her poems and the assignments associated with them, it began to rain.  I became so excited I forgot all about my assignments and enjoyed the rain.  I even posted my excitement on Facebook and called my daughter.  She laughed and said, “You are a dork!”

Pura Vida


Everywhere in Costa Rica one hears Pura Vida.  It seems to be the national motto.  I have been here for a week.  This is the greenist, healthiest, cleanist, enviromentally conscious, most mountainous place I have ever been.  Few people smoke, there is no salt on the table anywhere, the food is mostly rice, black beans, fruit, and vegetables.  No hot peppers here unless they are on the Caribbean side where I have not gone yet.  When I return home later this week, I will post photos with written details, including some food photos and explanations.  Today I saw howler monkeys, iguanas, other lizards, numerous birds, white faced monkeys, sloths, and agoutis.  Tomorrow will start out by going to a place with lots of crocodiles and scarlet macaws.  This time of year it rains incessantly.  I have been soaked several times and nothing dries out. Even though I am not a lover of rain or being wet, it is impossible not to love this place.  Pura Vida.