What the Rain Brings

28 Jun

A muskrat enjoying the stream's high levels - much lower than it was during the flood.

It’s been raining like mad here lately and when it does that, I feel like I’m back in the Pacific Northwest rather than in Minnesota. I find myself thinking about ferry boats. About arks and Noah. About the immeasurable (and unlauded) patience of his wife.

 
I look out the window every 20 minutes, unable to tear myself away from the spectacle taking place in the back yard: the stream is creeping across the grass, devouring the asparagus with muddy, cold fingers, forcing the beavers from their dam and the children from their playhouse . The normally passive, unimpressive stream is now a multi-dimensional river, rushing into Iowa with my hard-won vegetables in its clutches.

 
I wear my pink, polka-dotted rain boots when I go outside, and I measure the rain in our clear plastic rain gauge (with large yellow writing for hard-of-seeing eyes). We bought a rain gauge within a month of moving to the country, because we learned quickly that, “How much rain did you get?” was a question as important as, “How ‘bout them Vikings?” (Which, by the way, is a question I have no opinion on…but if you ask me about the Oregon Ducks, I’ll have a few thoughts to share!) So, in order to fit in, we bought the gauge and entered the competitive world of “Rainfall Measurement” which, though it does not qualify as an Olympic sport, really ought to for the sheer excitement of it all.

 
For example, did you know that someone half a mile away can get, say, half an inch more than you? (Ahhh, the agony of defeat!) Or that water left in a gauge when it’s below freezing will crack the plastic? (I thought it would expand UPWARDS if it froze. It doesn’t. It expands OUTWARDS. Like I implied last week, I’m no scientist.) When I went back to the hardware store to buy a new one, I bought the “Giant-Number, Extra-tall, Super-Neon, Number-one-Winner Rain Gauge”. It was what my trainer said I should get.

 
I live for rainfall now.

 
I even have a CD called “Summer Storm”…for the off-season. But the truth of the matter is, rain makes me feel like I’m back home on Orcas Island, in Washington State. Which, while it hasn’t been home for 26 years, still stirs those comfort-endorphins in my body at the very thought of it. Yes, rain makes me feel cozy.

 
Except when it makes me feel wet.

 
And in those times, when rain is nothing more than an annoyance, and all my Olympic Rain Gauge training is for naught; when I can’t see pictures in the clouds because there’s just too darn many of them…those are the days when Lucy and I find pictures BETWEEN the clouds. Pictures in the blue.

 
Maybe, if we’re lucky, it will become an Olympic Sport.

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7 Responses to “What the Rain Brings”

  1. larafransen June 28, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    Beautiful Gretchen!! Thanks for making me actally appreicate the rain we’ve had lately instead of going out of my mind crazy!!! Today is a day that makes me miss home – and reminds me of summer in the South…hot and humid!!! The rest of the week should be even better 🙂

    • Gretchen O'Donnell June 28, 2011 at 9:09 am #

      Thanks, Lara! It’s all a matter of perspective, eh?! I’m having to enjoy the fact that YOU’LL enjoy the humidity…perhaps knowing that it makes you happy can help me endure it! The good thing about MN is that everyone gets happy with the weather SOMETIMES!!!

  2. Kris Erlandson June 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I remember Grandma Fraser reffering to those blue breaks as “enough blue to make a Dutchman a pair of britches.” I’m not sure that is considered politcally correct now a days….

    It is interesting to follow the barometric pressures and get a feel for what the weather is doing, or watching the next “big” storm moving through. Rain totals could easily fall into the same catagory. Espically when one side of the house gets more rain than the other. A very weird experience.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell June 28, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

      Yes, Jenny said the same thing about the britches! I’d forgotten that. I don’t remember much that she said/did…which is a bummer. And yes, we sure watch the radar…have to know if we have to hide in the basement for a tornado or not! Thankfully, that doesn’t happen too often!

  3. Rita Vander Kooi June 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    Would you believe it, Gretchen? No answering machine AND no rain gauge? We really live on the wild side here!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell June 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

      RITA! I am in shock. Shock! I’m never asking you to be on my Olympic Rainfall Measurement team!!

  4. Rose June 29, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    Fun thoughts

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