Roger Miller once said, “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” This is the time of year when the rains begins to fall in Northern California. In a matter of days, the sky cries its tears and in one full sweep of darkened clouds changes a drying landscape into Ireland.
Creeks go from a soft trickle to raging rivers as all the roadways seem to flood. It is the Northern California equivalent to a monsoon. Some years it rains from Thanksgiving until April, and sometimes homes along the Russian River float out to the Pacific Ocean – along with couches and propane gas tanks. Trees fall, sink holes appear and the news stations run around hoping to find a trapped idiot who decided to drive down a flooded street.
Skiers watch in anticipation as these rain storms that cross Northern California move on to the Sierras and dictate the snow pack. Building Contractors rejoice as more water enables more home building. Kid’s dawn their goulashes and race paper boats down the street gutters. Sand bags appear on many corners and the adobe mud turns to this thick, clumpy, sticky, taffy-like substance which sticks to shoes better than high school bubble gum.
The ocean swells with high-energy waves, which create an undertow, and people not from here often are knocked out to sea. The ocean tides are as dangerous as the sharks beneath while the mighty sea winds howl their secret song: Beware winter is upon us.
One year it rained for 45 days straight. In Gail-force winds I hoped a plane to travel to Houston, then on to Austin to train loan officers. The flights were so delayed that I missed my connecting flight to Austin and spent the night in the Houston Airport near a leaking roof.
Have you ever been in the Houston Airport late at night?
The next morning I caught the second flight out to Austin only after sleeping late and missing the first flight by 30 seconds.
Have you ever missed a flight by 30 seconds?
I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me until I stared out the plane at the sun and realized it was the first time I’d seen the sun in 45 days.
My friend was married in San Francisco on one of the rainiest afternoons I have ever experienced. It was New Years Eve, and the usual hour drive took two and a half hours. The average speed on the freeway was 35 miles an hour. Several times I thought of stopping, but didn’t want to miss the wedding.
Freeway visibility was best in the far left lane. As I ascended the hill to the Golden Gate Bridge, my windows completely fogged up. Instinct took over and I pushed the power button to my window, which cleared the fog. Just as the crisis passes I look to my left and a huge bucket-size sheet of water splashes right on to my face. It covers my mouth, enters my right ear and covers my chest.
I missed the wedding by 10 minutes.
Have you ever missed your best friends wedding?
Once again the rains have returned to Northern California. Maybe I should just say home. I seem to be the one who always gets wet when it rains.
Until next time-