Our Cup Runneth Over

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They call it a Pineapple Express. An atmospheric river. A once in twenty-five year event. We call it water. And lots of it. This was the river just a year ago:

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This year, Winter announced itself, first with a hard frost,

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and now, rain. Lots and lots of rain.

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After five years of drought, the water is welcome – but the height of our rivers and streams is downright scary. This is a warm storm off the Pacific, so the water melts the snow in the Sierra, and just when you think you’ve been through the thick of it, the rivers swell further with runoff. Sacramento is second only to New Orleans in flood risk. I was here in 1986 as the the water rose so high it brushed the bottom of bridges and the levees failed. If you have any sway with the rain gods, would you kindly ask them to go easy on us this time? Our cup runneth over.

There will be no gardening even if we wanted to: the garden looks like a lake with floating islands.

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And there will be no dog walking today. The wind and rain make it unsafe to drive, so all but our feeders have been banned during the worst of it. Today, the dogs won’t mind. With the yards full of ankle-height water, and the relentless shooting of nearby duck hunters, even our water-loving pups prefer to be under cover!

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But even these storms bring their own joys: birds.

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Some are with us all year,

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but much easier to see when the trees are barren.

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Others – like the Snow Geese, make their way to our valley only in winter.

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And what a sight they are!

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Tens of thousands of them.

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I have been stalking them for a couple weeks. They are skittish; even the sound of a shutter click sends them flying off.

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But they have found food – and sanctuary from the hunters – in the flooded rice fields that surround us.

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I usually love the sound of rain, but this rain is worrisome. I should be grateful for it after so long a drought – and I will be – when this storm has safely passed.

21 comments

  1. Nice photographs. I too hope you get moderation. Severe weather not matter what type can be nerve wracking, both in what it can in terms of damage and how it can take away the comforts we take for granted. Every now and then mother nature reminds us we are not so all powerful as we sometimes think.

  2. two engaging goldens

    Drought or flooding rain, what we are used to here in Australia. However, this same scenario seems to be happening all over the world. So sad to see your lovely garden looking like this.

  3. We have also had droughts and flooding, and neither is pleasant, especially coupled with the relentless banging of hunters. I empathize, and pray for the return of greater balance to your world. Gentle peace, and thank you for the lovely bird photos. 🙂

  4. Another beautiful post, Audrey. Your love of nature shines through. It does seem to be all or nothing, doesn’t it. We desperately need the rain, just not all at once. A steady drip over weeks so that are ground can absorb the gifts without flooding our river banks. I’ll hold good thoughts for you as the week gathers new storms. Swollen rivers and a waterlogged garden make for worrying times.

  5. Oh my, the river is spectacular – Mother Nature is often volatile, isn’t she? We had a week of single digit temperatures here and now are heading for the 50’s, which will take its toll on the plants, but nothing like the crisis that your area is facing. I will hold you in my thoughts and pray for balance. Marvelous bird photos!

  6. The weather has become a scary topic since it seems to be bringing various parts of our Country to their knees constantly. Here in SC, the local channel calls it ‘First Warning.’ That seems kind of appropriate. Here’s hoping the faucet gets turned off before all the dogs need boots. 🙂

    • “First Warning” may have been issued 20 years ago. This is what we get for ignoring it! We’re well past boots for the dogs…just hoping we won’t need row boats! If we get through Wednesday without major issues, we should be in the clear. 🙂

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