wellspringAugust 2, 2012

It finally rained today.

I was in my office, hearing distant thunder. Thunder has been rare for months, and when it has come around this summer, it's just been a summertime tease.

This thunder wasnt teasing.

My secretary and I went to stand at an exterior door. Heavy drenching rain.

It rained all the way home.

I asked an old friend--97, farm owner, still drives an old truck, mows his own lawn, jogs across streets--"Have you ever seen it this bad?"

"Not in my lifetime. Not in '54, and not in the '30s. The corn never formed seed. It just dried up."

Rain. What a great way to water a garden.

I just want to sit there and listen to it, smell it ...

Should a rain viewing point be a part of my garden?

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rosiew(8 GA)

Of course a rain viewing point is needed! I loved at my former house that almost always the windows could be left wide open with none coming in. It was because of the orientation of my home to prevailing winds. Hope you can find the perfect spot. Here we have frequent lightning, so inside is the only safe option.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:09PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

I love the rain and miss it terribly since living in a Mediterranean climate ( no rain for about 6 months. )
I just returned from a 2 week trip in the rain forest and enjoyed the daily afternoon and evening downpours. ... though I don't miss the 95 % humidity and a continual sweat soaked shirt.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:34PM
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I vaguely remember rain...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:35PM
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It is you that is the tease Wellspring. The most distinctive thing about a long awaited rainfall is the smell when dust suddenly becomes moist and before it washes away. Next is the sound, I think the rain beating on a thin roof is both scary and thrilling camping with heavy raindrops drumming on the canvas brings back childhood memories. After that is the feeling of warm rain on your skin as you run around head back and mouth wide open, does it taste as good as it smells sounds and feels? Lastly, as you run back indoors and watch the rain streaming down the windows is the sight of it. So what you need is a rain 'sensing' point and, of course rain.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:51PM
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The thing is, Deviant, every time I go to Marin Co., I find myself wanting to stay. Interesting to consider that I might miss rain. It always seems so misty when I've been there. My rain memory of San Rafael is doing a night run, soft rain, wearing the slicker supplied by the trainers, the young dogs ecstatic to walk as fast as they can on the slick streets. Exciting and fun!

For Ink- Who, me?
Your memories brought back one of mine. Dancing with my 18 month old son in the rain. He's naked and laughing. I'm laughing and trying to sing. "Singing in the rain! I'm singing in the rain ... ."
Perfectly happy.

Adriennemb- I hope rain comes and refreshes your memory. It's lovely stuff.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Rosie- Didn't mean to leave you out.
I don't have the orientation you described. I do have the lightning. Not sure that this house will give me that optimum rain experience. I sort of phrased this post after realizing, not for the first time, just how much gardens and various water experiences are intwined.
My guess is that many gardeners, maybe halfway unconsciously, have a place they sit, or stand, or walk to or through on occasion just to experience rain.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:03PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

As with Michelle, living here where it almost never rains in warmer months for 6 to 8 months of the year, I don't associate the words "warm" and "rain" together, and don't have childhood memories of east coast or midwest summer rains to recall. I see rains as necessary for our water supply and starting the growth cycle again each fall/winter, but also an interuption to being able to work outside on creating gardens and generally too cold to want to be outside.

When I worked/lived in tropical places such as Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, each country was a different experience regarding rains. The twice yearly monsoon rains of Kuala Lumpur were the most fascinating to me, coming down so intensely that one couldn't see anything but the rain but a foot away. I also loved watching thunder clouds build up to massive heights over the ocean/bay in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil and quickly raining for a half hour and then being sunny again. So different from here where rains usually occur for 1 to 3 days in a row in waves, alternating with a day or two of sunnier weather. I rather prefer a 7 month summer dry season, having grown up with it most of my life. Places such as Hong Kong, with a winter dry season seemed so alien to me; dried out grasses on mountains in the cool season just seemed wrong.

I'm very familiar with that guide dog for the blind facility in San Rafael, having once done some consulting landscape work on the grounds there a couple of decades ago. We get some insignificant amount of light moisture/wetting of the ground in summer from our almost daily fogs off the ocean, which I find to be even more fascinating than rain clouds, as they roll in over the coastal hills and race across the bay on their late afternoon sojourn to blanket terra firma. On the hilltops, it is often thick enough that the trees capture the fog and it can drip so plentifully it seems like rainfall. Our coastal Redwood groves depend on cooling fog and harvesting the moisture for their survival during 7 months of the dry season. Regional variations of climate sure create some wonderfully complex and different landscape habitats. A bit hard to remember at times what summer heat, summer thunderstorms are like when it is hardly ever too hot here by the bay, and often overcast in the early mornings and again in the late afternoons. Keeps us waiting until mid July for any tomatoes, but so many other tropical cloud forest plants just love our summer weather here if one can supply them with irrigation.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 10:09AM
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David- Loved reading your descriptions of rain and things. I think we do have something like an unconscious consciousness of what our local weather ought to be doing. So wind sounds, and prairie winds are powerful music around here, often dangerously so, yet those sounds belong mostly to the spring and early summer. When we had thunder storms this year in January, it just felt weird. And, even so, there weren't enough of them.
I'll probably be out to San Rafael again sometime next year. It's always a treat ... and hard work. And you get to go home with this amazing being.
Every time I go, I'm persuaded, "Yeah, but I'd like to live in San Rafael." It's the weather, yes, especially because there isn't a season of ice and snow when no sane person steps outside much if she can help it. So call it good pedestrian weather ... It's also the fact that few communities are designed for those who want to walk to work, bank, shop, etc. I live in a suburb -- basically landlocked, nice quiet walks but can't get to anything else unless I use a driver or risk myself and my companion dodging 8 lanes of traffic to get to the nearest strip shopping.
So I keep my ears open for those places that are intentionally preserving or creating walkability. It's a big-picture design thing that intrigues me and occasionally gets some attention. Been hearing recently about a trend with 20 something professionals moving back to urban centers and the re-development of apartment living spaces, shops, night-life, other amenities. The story featured downtown areas that everyone has been thinking were "dead", like Cleveland, St. Louis, etc.
But I also think about smaller towns. Those that are still viable anyway. When humans live on a smaller scale, a house with a garden can be located near the town center, which often still has abank or two, a handful of restaurants, and--if not totally killed off by a Walmart that's on the edge of town somewhere--a grocery store and some Mom and Pop shops for other needs.
And I guess my ur-small town would be something like San Rafael. It'll be interesting to find out how it's changed.

Rain coming ... maybe ... on Thursday.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:05AM
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I love rain. I loved it in my youth when the sky would turn gray with a tinge of purple and you'd see the lightening and smell the ozone, then wait for the rolling thunder to come crashing in your ears before heading home.

Rain is a little different here, it comes up out of nowhere on a moment's notice - whatever The Big Lake determines. Lots of sturm und drang. Sometimes downpours, sometimes it's more than a mist but not quite rain. It's lush and green here, no drought like elsewhere.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 12:14PM
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Thank you, Duluth. I'm enjoying the rain vignettes. Now yours from big lake country.
Yesterday was a monday so odd numbered houses could water before 8:00a.m. and after 7:00p.m.
There's a bed I have to make sure keeps its positive grade away from the house.
Flat yard subtlety plays out in drainage flow.
It hasn't rained. But heat and dryness have done things to the soil. Contracting it.

So I'm contemplating rain even when it hasn't rained.
Rain gets itself noticed.
It's always episodic.
When it's crashing down, or just spitting promises, or relentless, modest, or torrential, I'm either drawn to the show for its own sake, or making sure that it flows off the roof, into gutters, down downspouts and away from the house.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:18AM
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How come I've missed this thread? Let me tell you my rain experience from this summer: we were camping out in a place where boats were free to use, so decided to go for a little sea voyage. There was a light drip. drip. drip from above, but DH said: oh don't worry, it'll soon stop. We sat in the boat - me and son sensibly covered with a red umbrella, Dad rowing with no protection. So... the rain got heavier. He just said, please keep filming those pretty raindrops on water! (a brand new waterproof camera was involved). He was quite wet when he finally gave up and turned the boat around, but next thing he crashed into the reeds and got stuck. I asked why, and he replied: I want to film the reeds!
No shortage of rain on my turf, everything is green, including the bleeding heart.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:34AM
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