If you are looking for a cheery post-Christmas post, you may need to look elsewhere. Christmas was good, great, tasty, redemptive, renewing, bonding, overt, masterful, joyous, and most other positive adjective you can think of. It was, in many ways, an exceptional Christmas, but this post is about rain.
Rain is a balance I seek in my life, and when rain exceeds that balance, everything else is out of whack. And so, rain has taken over Christmas this year. It rained pretty hard two days ago, when all of the South and beyond was in rain, thunder, lightning, tornado turmoil and worry, and then yesterday, the rain was light. A reprieve. What felt like the end of things.
But when I got up this Christmas morning, went to the bathroom, and then came back to bed to be with my wife, the accumulation of rain started coming into the basement. Soon after 7 AM, we were both suddenly up, trying to prepare our basement for what looked like more than a day's worth of an onslaught of rain. And there, right at the start, our defenses had already given way.
That leads to a number of interesting choices. Of course, you get everything you own off the floor ( save for the books your cat will knock into the water later in the day). But do you tell your mother-in-law who is visiting, do you tell your father who will be arriving in ten minutes that your basement is no longer tenable? For one 89 year old, that flood will be a source of worry for the rest of the day and beyond, and for the other one, that flooded basement will lead to an endless conversation of "things you need to do" that will overwhelm the rest of the day. So you put down towels, blankets to try to staunch the flow and turn off the basement lights just get through it.
Fifteen and a half hours later, the rain has not quit, at least 3 inches have come down ( the total for the day was nearly 4 inches) and your basement has begun to ripen, ever so slightly.
That is rain. Two days ago, commiseration with those who had survived tornadoes and what not was the name of the game. Tonight, however, I am feeling sorry for myself, which is pathetic in light of other tragedies, because all of the rain in the country is centered over my house and apparently disinclined to go anywhere else.
I don't want to go in the direction of global warming with a 75 degree, rain-soaked Christmas, but I do want to say that for those who deny, this is a glimpse of what all of our futures probably look like--temperatures way too high for the region and the time of year with the resultant weather conditions.
For me, Christmas 2015 is as bad or worse than when a hurricane blew through here some years ago. That one had more concentrated rain that required my driving to Home Depot in a monsoon to get a pump, while this one has a far longer stretch of hours where we watch helplessly as water runs through our basement in living rivulets that show no sign of stopping. I have never seen the ground as saturated as it is today in my front yard as it waits to sink down into my basement, or in my neighbor's yard, where it pools at the bottom of every slope, waiting for entrée.
Rain in steady doses makes everything in my yard better; rain in mega-doses is the bane of my existence.
And as I listen to the sirens in the distance, where I know power lines have failed, cars have crashed, motorists are trapped, traffic sits, drains overflow, and water runs across streets, I know that I am not alone on this rain-drenched Christmas, that everywhere people helplessly wait for it to end, for the drying to begin and the super-saturated yards to become walkable.
The Beatles kind of had it right. It isn't so much that people hide their heads anymore, at least not me, it's what that incessant water is doing underground that leaves me lying awake and wondering what strategies might best bring us back to normal quickly if and when it ceases. I hope you are not having a soggy, soggy Christmas. Chances are, if you don't live near me, you aren't.