Farmers aren’t the only people who pray for rain.
I love precipitation. I favor rain, but I can also find things to praise in hail, sleet and snow, in moderate amounts.
Living in Orange County, you get used to it always being sunny, but the truth is that things haven’t always been this way. Climate change deniers be darned, but it is much warmer and drier than it used to be. Since the drought we’ve struggled with such environmental issues. With scientific research and the simple evidence of our eyes, it’s clear that the wet stuff from the sky is much too infrequent a visitor these days.
We had some light rain this morning, and I was in a near-Christmas state of mind. For those of you who don’t qualify for the senior discount at Ruby’s, it’s useful to understand that there was once a time around here when we actually did have four seasons, even in the OC.
Growing up in Garden Grove, we had cool weather and crunchy leaves in autumn – by October – September was usually hot. There was fog in the late fall and in winter, along with rain and brisk winds now and again. The sound of hail drumming on the classroom roof or the top of the patio is still a fresh memory for me.
In elementary school, the rain – usually heaviest in the spring – had its plusses and minuses. Any kind of steady rain would keep us off the playground during recess, so we prowled the covered walkways like caged animals, bumping into each other and looking longingly at the distant but off-limits slide and swings.
On the plus side, we got to walk home in the rain, which I always liked. Back in the days of Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, most students hoofed it. This current idea that children should never have to walk more than four feet lest Charles Manson kidnaps them right there off the sidewalk would never have occurred to us back then.
Walking home meant a chance to stomp in mud puddles, race your bike through mini-ponds like a PT boat commander and in general feel closer to nature. While you trudged home you could savor the idea of coming home to some hot cocoa and Oreos as a reward for having braved such savage elements.
My favorite was the fog. At recess, when the fog socked in the playground you could wander out into a misty wonderland. The school buildings faded out of sight and after just 30 or 40 steps, you were in a splendid white isolation, a good place to let your imagination soar and swoop.
These days, I love rain for the chance to walk romantically in the modest downpour with my beloved wife Marilyn (and, usually, the dogs) but also because of how it made everything look cleaner and nicer.
Some of our suburban comrades, in an effort to save money and just because it’s just something they don’t do, neglect watering their lawns. Dead lawns are ugly and they bring property values down more than a house occupied by a motorcycle gang.
But a day or two of steady rain greens everything up and for a while we’re living in a garden again. Bring on some more of the wet stuff.
Jim Tortolano’s Retorts usually appears on Wednesdays, but, hey, it’s been a busy week.