Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Sound of Rain

So, today I woke up to a sound I haven't heard much lately: a soft steady shower. Accordingly, the song of the day is The Beatles' "Rain".

This little spell of rain has been a long time coming and is thus all the more welcome. Yesterday's sprinkles, at one point late in the day accompanied by a truncated double rainbow, I think marked only the third time it's rained here this summer. And of those the middle time (the only thunderstorm and good heavy rain) came when we were on Whidbey Island and apparently didn't hit Kent at all, or at least not our part of it. The creek than runs past our place ran dry weeks ago, reduced to a few hollows. The nameless lake that gives 'The Lakes' development its name is so low that I've discovered for the first time that it's what the Clampetts would call a cement pond -- that is, the lake-bottom, or at least the parts I can see of it, is rough poured cement, like the smaller nearby pond they emptied a few months back for some fountain repair.

I've started to see trees up and down the streets shedding all their leaves as if it were an early fall, but it's actually established trees dying from the drought. We've been lucky: I've been able to keep the plants on the deck and the little mimosa* in the yard alive, and the wysteria that got cut down last year has made a comeback. The birds can fly to where there are still shrunken ponds, but what the little rabbits and the like have been doing to get by during this drought I can't imagine.

So,here's hoping that the current bit of wet is not an anomaly but presages the onset of autumn weather. Normally I like summer to hang around, although autumn is my favorite time of year, but this year the sooner the drought ends and the record-setting high temperatures with it (hello, global warming), the better.

On a more positive note, yesterday we stopped to snack off a few blackberries while walking home from Janice's office. When I reached to pick one, I disturbed something small and green that hopped onto another leaf. I thought at first it was a grasshopper, which for whatever reason you don't see too many of around here (as opposed to the other side of the mountains, where they're at every rest stop), but a closer look revealed that it was a little green frog. In fact, there were a lot of them, leaping from leaf to leaf. Clearly they did not feel the need to keep a wary distance, just moved just out of reach when we got too near. Unlike the Puerto Rico tree frog we'd seen in Hilo, these were absolutely silent. I don't know if they'd been brought out by that rain or if I just hadn't noticed them before the other times we've been at that particular patch of blackberries. Nor am I sure whether they were eating blackberries or, perhaps, waiting to eat the things that came along and were attracted to the blackberries. In which case, D&Der that I am,** I'm glad we're the size we are and they're the size they are.


*I now have a nice photo of the little tree which I'll try to post here, as soon as I figure out how to post photos. Bear with me on this; there are also some good ones of the standing stones and dolmen on Whidbey Island I'd like to share.

**I'm looking at you, VILLAGE OF HOMMLET's moathouse.

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