Let me preface what I’m about to say by stating that I’m clear on the fact that rain, pouring hard, has been known to create zones of standing water. And I am also clear that the average tire handles pools of water somewhat like a flat stone (even though the two bear about as much resemblance as an earthworm and a zinnia)—it skips across it, leaving the driver bereft of control.
But, that being stated up front, I had the opportunity this weekend to drive on Northern California’s highways in pouring rain, and I have also, during the recent rainfall that has come through, been privy to more than one person who has complained about the rain and/or attributed low attendance at places like church to the weather.
The weather, people. The weather. The weather that involves rain. A chilly rain, indeed. A rain that invites one to cuddle up under a blanket with a nice glass of single malt. But it’s not ice, it’s not snow, and I find it very hard to muster sympathy under the circumstances.
So, like I said, there was the driving. And all the people around me, on Sunday night, as I drove north, were of two types: They drove like the Wicked Witch of the West, darting from one lane in the other as if they were afraid of melting, or they drove like the Wicked Witch’s grandmother.
I stayed overnight in Fairfield, so I missed the pleasure of a twice-in-one-night trip on I-80 in said rain, and took off the next morning back to Oakland in a daylit downpour. I remember driving that stretch of road the day I moved to California, my car winding on I-80 West through already browning hills on either side, It was so different from the late-spring green I’d left behind in Iowa.
This time, as I drove through after a few days of heavy rains, those same hillsides had turned emerald. The grass looked like it was dolled up for its very own Spring fling. I would have tried to get a picture to capture the color, but while I don’t think California has specifically banned photography while driving (along with talking on the phone sans headset and text-messaging), I didn’t take the chance. (I promise, Mom.) But it was a dramatic message in a state so desperate for water. And for that reason, I embrace the rain, splash in the puddles, and enjoy the bright green while it lasts.