We had a big snowstorm here in the Sierra Foothills at the end of 2021, and the trees, brittle from a long drought, the worst in 1200 years, snapped easily under its weight. Some refuse has been cleared away, some remains. It was a disaster. But we were happy about the water.
Then it didn’t really rain or snow for a long time. The weather would say it was going to rain. I looked at the weather obsessively. It is such an unhealthy habit. Sometimes nothing happened, meaning the promise of rain was a total and complete lie. Sometimes it was just a half-truth, meaning drizzle, for just an hour, or even less, and then the stubborn sun would be back, again.
But then it got cool, and then, last week, it actually rained. No records were set, but the rain started to come down and it wasn’t just teasing us. The intensity stuck, and it kept going. Puddles formed. The dirt pits next to the freeway came to life and became little streams again. The dog’s paws needed to be wiped off.
“It’s raining,” said the woman at the bank, on Thursday. “Actually raining. It actually started raining and just kept going.” I could tell that we were both so happy that nothing that happened that day could ruin our moods.
“It’s raining,” said the physical therapist on Friday. who is from here, who has seen it go from a place with a fair amount of snow to a place where snow is more rare, who will now take what she can get and try to like it. “I have just been smiling all day.”
“It rained,” said the friend I ran into at Safeway on Saturday, after it had stopped, and as the sun, for once, actually seemed to have to fight its way past the clouds. She asked what I was doing that weekend. I said that friends were visiting from out of town and that we had admired the creek, the river, the lake, and that was about it.
When I got home I scrolled through Instagram. We were not the only ones who had gone to the river, to the creek, to a lake, to just see the beautiful water.
I texted a friend a photo of the lake where we swim. “Looking p good,” I said. She reported that the last time she was there, the water was at the level of the first concrete stair from the beach to the parking lot, and now, it was at the third.
This lake is a reservoir, and water can be let in and out, but it is of course better to see it full than not. The drought is not over but the rain was good. The health of the weather, the land, the water, the plants, animals and people is the only thing that matters. Without it, there is no true enjoyment of anything.