It seemed like it had been raining forever. The rain dripped off my nose. My shoes slurped with each step. Like most people I welcomed the rain. I know what it means to have too little. During the seven-year drought, our well ran dry. But after more than six inches in as many days the ground was saturated. What came down was now running off as fast as it fell taking whatever it could with it.
A trickle ran down from the trail beyond the house and into the driveway. It knifed its way through the gravel exposing the soft rock below. It collected creating an ever-deepening puddle. The puddle spilled over becoming a rivulet that cut into the lower edge of the drive carving a jagged notch before it ran down through the chaparral below.
Down the hill other freshets emerged. They joined becoming a stream that splashed out through small trees gushing into the gully alongside the road. I watched as buck brush washed down from the hillside onto the pavement afloat in red-brown muck blocking one lane. The water, following the hill, swerved out over the road around the slide. Now brown with mud it continued, cutting a deep gash along the edge of the pavement undermining the asphalt. An occasional culvert relieved the flow and diverted it down the hill on the other side of the road. But more often it spilled over covering the road in a wash that left rock and gravel, turning the pavement to creek.
Eventually a thousand rivulets, a hundred thousand trickles, joined together to plunge down vertical rock once bone-dry in summer heat. The falls, frothy white during lulls in the storm now mud-brown in the downpour, carried the mountain down to the sea. What part of my driveway now colored this torrent?
Around the bend the road slumped, the weight of water and underground springs causing the surface to drift ever lower. The paving showed cracks. It was close to the spot where three stories of mud had closed the road for three days in 1984.
Trees above road cuts were starting to tilt. A few on slopes slowly skidded with root balls intact, open mud wounds marking their progress.
Would the rain never stop?
But this surfeit of moisture could neither dampen my spirit nor depress my soul. I am grateful for rain. I have only respect for its effect on my life. Too much can reek havoc, produce devastation, destroy; too little can do the same. It can tear down mountains and flatten valleys. It can spark life and drown it. I long for it in summer, welcome it in fall. It is beyond my control.
At last the downpour lightened. A patch of blue appeared. A faint rainbow arched across the sky. But no pot of gold appeared. Only a sky darkening to charcoal followed in its wake.
It was time to get out of wet clothes and into a nice hot shower.