Wednesday after the weekend’s heavy rains I went to our back yard to look at our garden. Overnight the daffodil bulbs had pushed up out of the ground and some were opening, defying the stiff breezed trying to bend them over. A carpet of green covered the formerly bare earth where we had pulled up dead ground cover the week before, the the violets a riot of purple.
In our raised beds the broccoli and Brussels sprouts seedlings planted in October finally showed signs of developing into mature vegetables, although seedlings labeled “broccoli” at the garden center now suspiciously looked like cauliflower. Aren’t broccoli florets green instead of white plates?
Across the street our neighbors magnolia is magnificent with pink and white flowers, while in the park the pear trees are snow white.
What a little rain can do!
The rain gauge showed 3,75″, and though we, along with other Chicoans, rejoiced to finally get the long-awaited precipitation, we wished for more to break the drought. The seemingly big rainfall is but a blip in the drought officially announced by the governor in January, and we are reminded to diligently conserve water.
Ironically, however, I recall in 1995 our state was inundated with heavy rains caught in a weather cycle called “El Nino.” Rivers rose above flood stage, mudslides ruined many houses, and some foolhardy who rode rafts on the usually dry Los Angeles River were found weeks later at its mouth at the harbor.
I remember in early January, the exact date forgotten, it began to rain steadily in the morning as I drove to work, continuing what had begun falling during the night.
I was inside my school library that had windows high above the shelves on the walls and could not see out but could hear the steady beating of raindrops on the roof. During lunch I merely dashed across the hall to the faculty lunch room and didn’t go outside to notice the rain was heavier than usual. When the dismissal bell rang, and the thundering noise of kids leaving classrooms faded away, the hall and library were eerily quiet. Usually kids hung out at the library to browse or wait for a ride till nearly closing time at 4 p.m. It was cold and damp when I went to close the doors before packing up my things to go home.
There was a lull in the rainfall when I walked to my car parked at curbside a few yards from the school buildings. I noticed, however, the water was up to the curb and near the level of my car’s door, so I gingerly got in and began driving. My usual route home was to drive to the end of the street, turn left to the underpass of the 405 freeway, but when I got there, the water was high and not a car was coming down, indicating a flooded street. So I turned right at took another road toward home ad saw a police car stuck in the middle of the intersection!
Not taking a chance of being similarly stuck, I noticed a church on higher ground with a parking lot in front so drove there and parked my car, intending to retrieve it after the storm had passed.
There was a real estate office with its lights on so surmising it was open and had a phone, I walked there after taking off my shoes and socks, throwing them into my book bag, and rolling up my pants. I had on my rarely needed raincoat to keep me warm .
The real estate office kindly invited me and others who wanted to use their phone, and my intention was to call my husband who was retired and home. In fact, I’d promised him I’d bake a pie if he’d peel and slice the apples. .
But the line to use the phone, antedating the now ubiquitous cell phones , was long, and already close to sunset I decided to walk to the next street where there’s a mini-mall, hoping to either catch the bus or use the drugstore’s phone.
The mall was closed, and the street in front flooded as well, I concluded there wouldn’t be a bus and so continued walking home, sometimes wading hip deep in water filled with debris and obviously very dirty. During the two-mile walk home, I sang to keep my spirits up, and finally arriving about 45 minutes later to the entry of our tract where I met my husband come driving in his min-van, wondering what had happened to me, and scolded, “why didn’t you call me?” I explained the situation but glad I couldn’t call because otherwise his car’s engine would have been flooded as many others did that day.
I suffered no ill effects other than a dirty raincoat and wet pants up to my hips. And after I cleaned up, I went into the kitchen and baked him the promised apple pie as he had already prepared the fruits as promised.
Wouldn’t an El Nino be welcome now to break our drought?