When it rains... it pours

Japanese Maple in the rain

When we were first married, we entertained the idea of living somewhere else other than the San Francisco Bay Area. We loved British Columbia (and felt like we could easily become Canadian). We loved the Pacific Northwest with its stunning green vistas and proximity to the Puget Sound. We loved the No. California and Oregon coast with the breathtaking land along the Pacific Ocean. All these places had one thing in common... gorgeous scenery, trees, and the color GREEN.

But having SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) limited our choices as far as latitude--we couldn't go too far north or the days would be too short in the winter for my emotional health. So I had to find joy in living where I was planted in the Bay Area.

After moving to Rosehaven Cottage and having my first real garden to tend that was mine, I got into sync with the rhythms of nature fairly quickly. I became more aware of seasonal shifts. Those shifts are far more subtle in our climate than in a climate where there is winter snow (something I had my fill of as a child in Colorado and am thankful I don't have now). But there are seasonal changes nonetheless.

One seasonal shift just happened again yesterday as it always does around this time of the year--the first rainstorm of the rain-season.

Our rain-season starts sometime in October and lasts until early May, with rarely any rain falling during the summer months of late May through September. Our rainstorms are fronts that usually come in off the Pacific Ocean and then move their way west to higher elevations over the Sierra Nevada mountains where it becomes snow. In late spring, the snow that has fallen in the mountains becomes run-off into mountain lakes and reservoirs that we rely on for water during the summer months.

When the first storm of the season comes, it is always big news. And this particular storm that we had come through yesterday was even bigger news. It dumped more rain than was anticipated. Some of the mountainous areas of the Bay Area received over 11 inches of rain in 24 hours. That's A LOT!

Fortunately, with all the micro-climates in the Bay Area we didn't receive that much, but we still got a few inches in that 24 hour period. It was wonderful to watch my rain barrels fill to overflowing. I found myself wishing I had rigged up a system to catch the overflow because the rainwater seemed so precious.

Yesterday afternoon during the height of the storm, I had to go to floral design class. I had to buy my flowers before class and then make multiple trips from the parking lot to the classroom to get everything inside. I didn't have enough hands to carry an umbrella so I simply let myself get wet (fortunately my hair was pulled back in a ponytail). My flowers loved the "drink" they got as the rain fell on them and me. I couldn't grumble about being wet. I was just grateful for the rain. So in my soggy state, I happily sat and arranged flowers as I listened to the rain pour outside the classroom. And I found joy in where I was planted.

I should clarify that the months of October to May are only the season in which we can expect rainstorms to move through our area and we don't get rain constantly throughout those months. In between the usually quick-moving fronts, we have wonderful sunshine mixed with some fog in December and January. That's why I can have roses blooming on Christmas Day. If we had rain constantly from October to May, my SAD would have me in a real mess.

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  1. An interesting post and I am pleased to hear the storm didn't unsettle your mood. The flower arrangements look lovely.

  2. Cindy, Enjoyed your posting.

    You say you cannot deal with darker days due to SAD. Now I don't think I could handle a rainy season that long. Guess that wouldn't be called SAD, maybe RAD (rainy affective disorder).

    I am well used to the shorter darker days, and quite look forward to them as fall approaches. It makes a person want to nestle and cozy up inside with lovely smells from the kitchen, fireplace evenings, soft lamps and lights lighting dark corners...........

    And with those darker days brings the fun and joy of getting ready for Christmas.

    I guess it's what you say.... find the joy in where we are planted. Good advice.

    Happy Day!

  3. Yes, SAD is one main reason we moved to SoCal from Oregon. I function much better down here.

    We got our rain today. It has been lovely.

  4. I have SAD too. I can deal with the cold much easier than the shorter, darker days. I'm considering getting one of those light kits this winter. Have you looked at those. -Jackie

  5. You are just getting better and better at flower arranging wonderful cousin! This one is particularly amazing...love you Cindy :)


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