August 10, 2021

Yep, it’s raining. Again.


Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

-USPS Motto


The temperature is in the low sixties today, so we wait to start our daily constitutional until 7 AM.  It’s raining – again.  The rain is coming down hard enough that I have to wear both my rain-jacket and my rain-pants or my clothes will get soaked.  Both are waterproof which means they don’t “breathe” that well.  It’s warm enough out so that, with the exercise I’m doing, I sweat.  The humidity outside is high (it’s raining, after all) and inside my rainsuit, it’s even higher, so the moisture next to my skin doesn’t evaporate and I am sweltering.  Waldo is happily prancing along, doing his Waldo thing, shaking himself off every so often, clearly enjoying the cooler temps.  He was sprayed by a skunk a couple of months ago and you can’t really smell it now, except when he gets wet.  The water makes the stinky oils float to the surface where they can outgas and flood the air with that distinctive essence de Pepe Le Pew.  I can smell it whenever he gets close.  Ugh.

The rain splats against the leaves, making a clattering racket, pools, then drips down to the ground in drops bigger than what the rain makes.  When they hit the inch or so of water that has collected on the tarmac, they produce momentary splashy craters the size of quarters.  All that water flowing down the trees, branch to branch, leaf to leaf, leaves the leaves all shiny and, although it may be just my imagination or the play of the dim light, they seem to exhibit a darker green color.  It seems that each leaf is spreading out, trying to grasp as much water as possible, as if to drink in as much as they can.

There is the distant rumble of thunder, but I can’t really see any flashes of lightning.  Nitrogen is an important element in the sustenance of life.  Amino acids and proteins require nitrogen and they, in turn, are needed for things to grow and be healthy.  Eighty percent of air is nitrogen so, it would seem, there’s plenty of it around.  Unfortunately, the nitrogen in air is in a gaseous form that is fairly inert under normal conditions – it doesn’t react with much.  Because of that, atmospheric nitrogen is not available to living things.  It has to be “fixed” first, i.e., converted to a form that can be incorporated into living systems — usually as nitrates and nitrites.  Most of this is done by cyanobacteria in the soil, but a small amount is fixed by lightning and then rain delivers it to the soil.  Have you ever noticed how much faster your lawn grows after a rainstorm compared to just watering it from your garden hose?  That’s why.  Clearly, plants love the rain – in moderation, of course.

Water is accumulating on the ground and, before long, the normally tinkling murmur of the small creeks and streams that run alongside the rail-trail have become a throaty gurgle as they rush seaward.  Even the dead-leaf-bound sometimes dry-dirt gutters that run next to where we walk are full of rushing water.  Before our walk is over, the water on the path is ankle deep and flowing briskly, soaking my “waterproof” boots, socks and feet.  My wet socks and feet are no big deal – they can easily be dried.  The boots, however, will require more time to dry out.  Ah well, it’s a small price to pay.  I look around.  Although we have passed two or three others out here getting wet, there’s nobody in sight.  I shrug and jump up and down in the flood, making big splashes that would inundate anything nearby, except everything already is sopping wet.  Waldo is having his own puppy moment splashing through the water and doesn’t notice.  I smile.  Some things in childhood should not be left in the past.

The air smells differently when it rains, you know?  Some say it is the odor of the ozone that’s created by lightning, but it’s more than that.  There’s the odor of wet earth, mud, and decaying leaves, the stirred-up dust from the ground and air, the aroma of wet plants and chemicals, like Waldo’s skunkiness, that you normally can’t smell, but in the rain are roiled into a perfume, and all of it is mixed together to produce something that can only be described as “the smell of rain.”

I’m glad I’m out here with Waldo, my wet feet and all, taking in a few moments of rainstorm in the wild.

It’s not a burden at all.


It’s gone from rain to deluge.

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