The rain has returned! It came barreling in as part of a storm on Tuesday night, pounding and flowing and puddling in the low places. On Thursday morning it fell softly and gently and steadily, soaking in where it fell.
Our last rain was sometime in June, making this a fairly short summer drought by California standards. I do love that endless summer sun, partly because it makes the effect of rain so much more dramatic. Overnight the mosses on the oak tree trunks have taken on giddy, vibrant greens. With leaves newly cleaned, everything looks brighter, clearer, more alive. The water drops sparkle as they hang at the very tips of pine needles or rest on the surface of kale and agave leaves. The essence of Life is out and about and playing.
I spent the rainy morning making an end-of-summer soup: tomatoes, Lebanese green zucchini squash, Gypsy and Anaheim peppers, with onion and garlic and a handful of lentils. It gets cold here when it rains. From 90 degrees on Friday to 52 degrees on Wednesday, the rains have brought in the fall weather.
We catch some of our rainfall in cisterns, so it is time to sweep off the roofs. We’ll be checking and repairing and expanding on the swales that slow down the fallen water and soak it into the soil and deep into the earth. The best place to store water is in the earth, and the earth’s capacity for holding water is huge. Water stored in the ground becomes the aquifer that waters the trees and keeps the streams and rivers flowing through a 4 month drought. (An excellent resource on this is Brad Lancaster”s Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, volumes I and II.)
We have a place on our property on the North edge of a small meadow that always seemed a little greener – even on a hot September day, deep into a summer drought. My husband was the one who realized we could plant a few fruit trees along that edge and take advantage of the extra moisture. Four years later we have apples, pluots, and a mulberry growing there. Not one of them received supplemental water this summer – we didn’t have any to spare for them this year – and while the apples and pluots are not big, they are tasty.
I have come to believe that water is the single most important and magickal substance on Earth, and quite possibly in the Universe. I will write some more about its unique features another day because the starting place with water is in catching it and cycling it. A water drop that falls from the sky and flows over land right back to a river and the ocean is living half a life. It is the journey underground into the dark of the Earth that water seeks. Victor Schauberger calls such water “wise water” as it emerges in a natural spring. Just as relationships temper us, coaxing and stretching and pulling, until we become deeper, richer versions of our original selves, so too does the marriage of water into earth enliven the experience of a water molecule.
May we all become wise as we help the raindrops to slow down long enough to sink in and begin their own journey to wisdom.