Tag Archives: rain

Two Rivers

Long ago, in the Fertile Crescent region of Asia Minor, the rivers Tigris and Euphrates surrounded an area that gave birth to a great hubbub of humanity. This area is sometimes even referred to as the very cradle of civilization.

So, too, is the case near Athens, Georgia, where on a good rainy day, two rivers converge to encircle my home. My very own cradle of civilization! This place sits on high ground and has fertile soil for farming and livestock grazing. And there are books and artworks, and a thirst for learning and knowledge.

OK.  So I’m not quite the same as early man and his rise of civilization. I’m already pretty well civilized. And there are no earth shattering discoveries going on here. Although I do learn something new every day which impacts my own world.

But my house sits in this place. And when it rains a lot the water runs off of the hundreds of acres to the north of me that are home to a herd of cattle. And it finds its way down rutted paths on the hillsides in the forests to the east and west. Along its journey, the water gathers strength and momentum. And grows in its volume. It finds its way to two major sunken pathways, one on either side of my house. And rushing rivers take the place of dry gulches.

For the most part, the rivers are narrow enough for me to jump across. In other places it runs too wide for my leap. And it runs deep, and fast, with white water foaming. And sounding like a freight train. The waterfall feeding the western side is especially impressive.

The two rivers pour into a pond. The water rises until two islands there are submerged. And the water turns from its natural dark green and blue to a muddy reddish brown. Silt from the farmlands.

It takes several hours of good rain to create this, and when the rain stops the water continues to flow for another day or so. As the fields and hillsides continue to drain.

Don’t send any scientists or researchers looking for ancient relics. And no philosophers looking for great insight into human behavior and society. It’s just me out here. Watching. Learning. Having a blast.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?


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Sound Waves

Familiar sounds can be very soothing. Being surrounded by things we know is always comforting. These routine sounds often drift into the background, almost forgotten. Even loud sounds, like the dishwasher springing to life at three in the morning can be calming. As long as they are familiar.

After nineteen years in my old house, I had heard every sound it had to offer. And felt comfortable with most of them. The creak in the upstairs hallway when you stepped on just the right board. The HVAC units going on and off smoothly. Doors opening and closing as people came and went. The icemaker filling with water at all hours of the day and night. And the sounds of people sleeping.

Then there were a few sounds that weren’t so pleasant. There was an unfamiliar sound of water running one night. That was the water heater exploding under too much water pressure coming from the county water line. And the sounds of gusty winds and rain.

I live in a tornado prone area. In the spring, the winds blow hard, and the rain pours down. And it always seems to happen at night when you cant see a damn thing. Scary, but you get used to them.

Moving to a new house gave me a lot of unfamiliar sounds to adjust to. The dishwasher still comes on in the middle of the night, but somehow seems louder. The fans on the HVAC systems blow after the units shut off. I’m still figuring out how the programmable thermostat works. I think the machine is programming me. The floors creak. In more places. And I don’t think I have found every spot yet. And can’t remember where all of them are. The first time I heard the icemaker drop a load of ice I thought a car had crashed into my garage!

And then there is the rain. Still in a tornado area, and the wind and rain still howl. But the house is down in a holler so it’s blocked by the hills.

The new house has a metal roof. And the sound of the rain falling on it can take many forms. The main house has a lot of insulation in the attic so the sound if mostly muffled. But the back porch, right off my bedroom, has no insulation so the sound can be more pronounced.

In a gentle rain, it’s very soothing. In a hard, heavy rain it sounds like a pride of tigers scratching at that metal roof. Determined to get in. On the porch you have to shout to be heard by anyone else there with you.

Old sounds. New sounds. The new become old with time. And new ones continue to pop up. Until the ears grow weary and hear no more.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?

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The Dust Cloud

In old western movies if you saw a cloud of dust on the horizon you knew it was one of two things. Making all of that dust was either a troop of cavalry coming to rescue the settlers under attack by evil villains, or a pack of evil villains coming to attack. Either way, it was a bunch of people riding horses. And headed in your direction quickly.

That was old westerns. In my back yard a cloud of dust means my dog is playing fetch. She’s not like that kid Pigpen in the Charlie Brown cartoons who travels around inside his own personal dust cloud, created by his less than civilized personal hygiene habits. She stays pretty clean, although she does shed a lot of hair. All the time and everywhere she goes. No, the dust cloud is exactly that- a cloud of dust created by her rambunctious play.

Whether or not you believe in climate change, this year has been the hottest and driest on record where I live. It’s five days before Thanksgiving and for the first time since May the temperature has dropped below 80 degrees. And no, I don’t live in Hawaii, or California, or Florida. And with all that heat, we’ve also been the fortunate recipients of a fifteen inch rainfall deficit. The water level in the local lakes is down by several feet and the green green grass of home looks more like tumbleweed blowing across the desert.

Back to the dog. She likes to exercise, as any puppy would. Since she is a German Sheppard, she likes to play a lot, and strenuously. Fetch is good. I find a small log in the woods, something maybe eighteen inches long and three or four inches in diameter, and I throw it as hard as I can. As soon as she sees me starting to wind up she takes off at full sprint speed. I think she could take a cheetah in a hundred yard dash.

Since I broke my shoulder a couple of years ago my throwing arm isn’t like it was when I pitched for the sandlot sluggers. The dog is well past where the stick will land by the time it sails through the air. But she happily comes back for it, grabs it with her teeth and brings it back for another toss. I prefer a smaller tree branch to the tree trunks she likes so sometimes we compromise. She will bring a six foot long branch to me which is only two inches across. The damn things are so heavy and cumbersome I can barely throw them but she’s got the thing in her mouth running around with two inches on one side and the rest unbalanced, but firmly held.

Another game she likes to play is biting at my hands and feet. Sometimes it hurts so I’m glad she is just playing. She could probably bite either of my appendages off quite easily. But ten or fifteen tosses of the stick usually satisfies her.

And the dust cloud? As she thunders across the dry grass in the yard she will slam on her brakes when she knows it’s time to catch or pick up the falling stick. She slides across the yard and tears up the grass and stirs up the dust. There are now places in the yard where the loose and bare soil is about three inches deep. When she hits that patch of dirt at full speed and puts on the brakes, a huge cloud of dust erupts. I’m sure the neighbors see the cloud rising above the fence and think I’m using a bulldozer to dig a hole to the center of the Earth.

Oddly enough, having her chase the stick also allows me to give the arid lawn some water. She gets so excited chasing that stupid stick that starts to foam at the mouth. The slobber gets all over the stick, which then gets covered with dust that turns to mud. Globs of slob fly out of her mouth as she runs. Her fur gets covered with the stuff, as does the ground. And the stick. Sometimes that stick is so slobbery that when I throw it I loose my grip and it slips out of my hands. Bad throw daddy she barks. And brings it again.

The cloud of dust makes me laugh. She is silly. And loyal. And playful. But we really do need some rain.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com

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Hurricane Beach

We pulled off a pretty good trick this weekend. At the last minute, like July 1, we decided to go to the beach for the Fourth of July weekend. Bear in mind that I don’t live at the beach, or near it, and I don’t have a beach house. And the Fourth of July holiday weekend is probably the busiest weekend of all at any beach resort area.

Looking on line I found lots of nice places to stay. None had any vacancies. Hotels, condos, private homes, all booked up. I had to work my way through three different islands to finally find a place. Jekyll didn’t have a thing. Saint Simons might have had something but gong there is like having my whole town transported to another place. Just everyone who is anyone goes to St. Simons. Nope. So we hit on Hilton Head.

It’s been years since we’ve been here. Like fifteen I think. We are in a place called Palmetto Dunes Plantation. The island has changed a lot, but not the plantation. Sure there are lots of new condos and even a new hotel, expanded anyway, but basically it’s a tropical resort carved out of the coastal forest of South Carolina. Very nice. And our place is only a ten or fifteen minute walk from the beautiful beach.

I’m spoiled and I always insist on staying in oceanfront accommodations. This weekend there just weren’t any available that met our needs. Everyone wanted a full week commitment, and they wanted to charge five hundred dollars a night. We are here for three nights. I’m not sure, but it may still be costing the five hundred per night. But out my front door is the pool, and the back porch is right on the lagoon. It’s a nice place. All things considered.

When we got here and I looked at the map of the area I remembered why we probably haven’t been here in a long while. The last time was when the hurricane hit and we had to evacuate. I was determined to have fun to the very end so we rode bikes in the rain. We swam in the pool in the rain. We swam with frogs in the pool, in the rain. We went to the beach in the rain and I even tried to fly the kite in the hurricane winds. When we finally left, the roads out of the resort were under six inches of water in places. But I’ve got a great story to tell.

This year, Tropical Storm Arthur, not sure it ever made it to hurricane status, was tracking up the east coast as we were driving toward our vacation wonderland. It should be right over Hilton Head just as we reach it was the forecast. Oh BOY!!! Crossing from the mainland to the island the rain started. Squally. It didn’t last long though and by the time we actually got to the beach it was clear. Rest of the weekend is supposed to be nice. Whew! Maybe we’ll come back sooner next time.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com

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Chance of Rain

Chance of rain. Thirty percent. Maybe later this afternoon or evening. It depends. How hot will it get? What direction and how hard will the wind blow? There is a high pressure here and a low over there and how they dance together makes a difference. Weather forecasting can be really inexact.

At the same time people just get glued to the TV or radio listening to the prediction of bad weather. Chance of snow sends everyone to the grocery store for bread and milk. Gonna rain? Take an umbrella. Change your behavior.

People look at me funny at work when I ride my scooter with a chance of rain. Your gonna get wet. Oooh, that’s dangerous. Riding in the rain isn’t fun. I’ve done it. I’m extra careful turning and go a little slower. I also wear a rain suit and gloves. Be prepared. That’s my motto. I keep an umbrella in my truck and a rain suit with my scooter.

I love to ride. And I won’t let a chance of rain stop me. My personal prediction of the weather is based on what I see when I look out the window. Not raining now. Light cloud cover. Go for it! I’d rather take the chance and get a little wet than miss out on the ride.

Turns out that today with a thirty percent chance of rain the sun peeked in and out of the clouds all day. And I rode without a drop of rain.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com

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The Summer That Wasn’t

When I was in school I always looked forward to Summer.  A nice break from school.  Go to the beach.  Swim in the pool.  Drive in movies and late night ice cream cones.  But always warm.  And filled with sunshine.  What a life.

As I got a little older summer meant a summer job.  Or taking a class or two to get ahead.  Or keep up.  But there was still the warmth and sunshine.  And a trip to the beach.

Now it doesn’t matter what time of year it is.  There is always work.  And more work.  Sure, I get some days off here and there.  And I can take a vacation.  If I have the vacation time.  If I have the money.  If my work schedule doesn’t interfere.  But there is still the warmth and sunshine.  Or not.

This year has been a little different.  It was cool late in the spring and early in the summer.  And it rained a good bit.  We took a trip to England for a week and it was cool.  And it rained some.  And cloudy the rest of the time.

When we got back from England it was like monsoon season in Myanmar.  Torrential rain every day.  Endless.  The basement became my swimming pool.  And I was constantly trying to drain the sucker.  And then came my fall.  Trying to stop the rain.  Broke my shoulder blade.  Ouch!

Naturally, it soon stopped raining and got really hot.  And the mosquitos came out in droves.  Somehow they always find me.  They love to suck my blood.  I can’t go outside with out being eaten alive. 

At that point the weather didn’t matter to me.  Stuck inside for fear of being eaten by mosquitos, stuck in an arm sling because of the shoulder and thus unable to do much of anything, I pretty much just stayed inside and relaxed.  Except to go to work.  Yes.   I went to work every day.  Shorter hours, and light duty, but off to work.  The beach wouldn’t have been any fun anyway.

And now summer is over.  Kids are back in school here.  It’s raining again.  Still hot.  More mosquitoes.  And damn if that beach trip didn’t escape me.  Another couple of weeks and I’ll be out of the sling.

See, there is always something to look forward to.  That sling holds up my arm but it’s a real pain in the ass.  There is always next summer.  And a trip to the beach.  Man, I’ll be ready for that!

That’s part of my story.   What’s yours?   www.personalhistorywriter.com


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Call Me Noah!

Call me Noah.  Yes, Noah of flood and ark fame.  I can’t escape the rain!  I went to England and the rain followed me there.  Rain almost every day.  Not unusual for England you say, but when I left, the rain went with me.  As a matter of fact, little baby Prince George was recently born in London.  On the hottest and driest day of the year.

At home it’s been raining.   Thirteen inches so far this month.  That seems like it’s about half a years worth for us.  A lot of rain.  I suppose that during the summer the farmers like to see the rain.  Big harvest ahead.  But with all of this rain I hear that crops are rotting in the ground.  Like the flowers in my garden.

I may have previously mentioned my fall.  Looking for a hole in the wall where the rain comes in, stops my mind from wandering.  Fell off the wall.  Broke my shoulder.  Every time it rains we have to vacuum water out of the basement.  Still looking for a fix.

My daughter is moving into a new apartment today.  We’ve driven three and a half hours to get there.  Through the rain.  Rain so heavy I could barely see the road in front of me at times. 

After a while it stops raining and the sun comes out.  Maybe the rain can’t find me here.  Or maybe the rain likes my young daughter and doesn’t want to make her move all her possessions into a new home during a rainstorm.  Or maybe it’s not really me.

Two days in a row with no rain.  Wow.  My daughter is moved in and happy.  I’m glad to know she is settled.  Time for me to go home.  After three and a half hours of driving I’m nearing the house.  The sky is getting dark.  I’m a mile from the house.  It’s raining.  I go into the house and damn if the basement isn’t full of water again.

Is it me?  That’s ridiculous.  It’s raining all over town.  And why would the rain soak everyone else if it’s just upset with me?  If it were angry with everyone in the human race, the world would flood.  Maybe it’s my town.  Like Lot’s Sodom and Gomorrah.  We are a liberal bastion in a sea of red.  No.

It’s the weather!  I have no control over that.  No say in how it works.  It doesn’t know me from Adam.  Climate.  I just happen to be here.  It just seems sometimes like it’s out to get me in particular.  That’s so funny because I live my life constantly reminding myself that it’s NOT all about me.  I’m a giver.  Just the weather.  Better find that hole now, I see a cloud coming.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?  www.personalhistorywriter.com

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