Tag Archives: rain

A March Friday

It is comforting to see normal March weather for California again after the bone-dry months of January and February. Thank God we got some rain in the fall. What is typical beginning of March weather you ask? Green hills, yellow mustard blooming profusely on said same hills, many fruit trees professing their white, magenta, and pink blossoms. Most of all though it the sudden change of weather, where dark clouds pushed by a brisk wind arrive quickly, empty themselves of rain, only to give way to puffy white clouds with a blue sky and sunshine behind them. This frequent exchange of clouds delights our spring, and it is advisable for the nature enthusiast to carry an umbrella.

The first flower of an Iceland poppy I planted in a pot came up about a week ago. This particular one was a bright yellow-orange and radiated color. Sadly it has already lost it’s petals now due a merciless wind coming off the mountain. We are also supposed to get some more rain tomorrow, perhaps even a storm – or atmospheric river – the current buzzword favored by the meteorologists. We shall see. Rain here equals snow in the Sierras, so a win-win for this time of year, except for my poppy.

Having picked up an almond croissant from the bakery – a café au lait was already in my possession – I drove down to the pier in Benicia to look at the water and and enjoy the aforementioned items. The wind whipping outside, I thought it wise to remain in the car with the window cracked a bit to take advantage of the fresh air, and at the same time protecting my croissant from many hungry eyes and beaks outside. Indeed, the pier is frequented by a multitude of pigeons, flocks of seagulls, ducks, ravens, and sparrows, all hoping for something to eat with minimal effort. I have even seen pelicans on a small island nearby. Numerous signs advise not to feed the feathered pier dwellers – much to the annoyance of the birds no doubt.

There – that was one tasty croissant, and I even managed not to make a mess in the car. Taking a stroll along the pier I notice a woman dumping something on the ground. Unclear of what it might be, the question answers itself a moment later, when a mad rush among all things feathered erupts to eat what I presume is bird seed. Birds and humans unable or unwilling to read the sign make for this frenzied spectacle. It is over in a matter of minutes, with the last ones to hang out being the pigeons, in making sure not a single seed is left behind. I do hope your next meal will have more of a slow food pace to it, somewhat less competition, and with perhaps some better table manners too.

Have a blessed weekend

4. Advent

4. Advent 2014Rain and drizzle continue, translucent raindrops, glistening at the tips of branches. The ginkgo trees have lost almost all their leaves by now, the sparse remaining few that have not been swept up already, lie dormant below the trees. The rain makes me contemplate an outing to the North Bay, where a summer trickle always turns into a winter torrent — where the salmon make their way back home. Although I have never seen an adult salmon in the stream, I have seen  plenty of fingerlings. The smell of the trees there is heavenly.

As I walk by a gymnasium, I hear noise coming from inside. A party it seems. I spy an Elmo balloon in a window, then another one, a third, and looking through the next window at least a dozen more. An Elmo party! It looks adorable to see so many Elmos. Kids are jumping about in between the balloons. I also pass I would say, an about five to six-foot tall inflated gorilla on the way to the supermarket. The specimen is dressed in bright red attire. A Santa Claus gorilla — what will the obnoxious sales people think of next?

At the store I find some sunflower seeds and a delightful seasonal specialty: peppermint ice cream. With much satisfaction, I notice on my walk back, that the ridiculous gorilla contraption has deflated. I come by a yard and see a man putting up a wooden manger scene: simple and beautiful — and a true reflection of the season.

Today is the 4. Advent, represented by the candle of love. May the son of God give you peace in your heart today. Amen.

Summer Memories

As I sit at a new small wooden table with my brother Holger under the Linden tree, a slight drizzle ensues. The table — a birthday present — is made of a very unusual wood. I don’t know what kind of wood it is, but it has a wonderful aromatic smell and it changes to a darker color when it gets wet, revealing the intricate pattern of the wood grain. Wood grain has always had an attraction for me — nothing compares to its natural beauty. We are enjoying the last of the late evening summer light under the canopy of the old tree, listening to the stream, and enjoying the smell of rain in the air. “Oh crap, my laundry!” I jump up and run behind the barn to retrieve several towels and some pants that I had hung outside to dry. I keep forgetting, that unlike California, where its dry from May until November as a general rule, the rain has its own timetable and playful unpredictability in Germany. Oh good — the laundry got only slightly wet — I hang it over some chairs in the barn. My brother grins at Mr. Forgetful, as I reemerge from the barn. “Wipe that smile off your face!”

I can be as quiet as a church mouse, but when I come from the barn in the morning to go into the house, I am always detected by Holger’s dog Moana. “Good morning girl!” She rolls on her side, and I rub her tummy as she wags her tail — a happy dog. As I turn on the burner under the water kettle, I see a tiny snail stuck to the outside of the top window pane. That’s quite a climb you have accomplished there Mr. Snail — your own skyscraper assent. I wonder what inspired such an endeavor.

The four wild cats have detected me as well, and are jumping up against the glass door, paw prints everywhere. Alright, alright, already — one order of crunchies and warm milk coming up. Usually I can pet them just a bit when the milk is served, as greed then outweighs fear, although they still shrink back or dart away sometimes. There are two new wild kittens, one of whom I am able to pet now, as he has discovered the milk dish. The kitten usually shows up only at dusk though.

It’s time for a walk with Moana. She has waited patiently for me to drink my cup of tea. She loves the morning walk through the forest, and as we get to the large downslope, she waits behind the same tree where she always waits on every walk, looking expectantly at me to throw a rock down the slope. When I throw the rock, she goes tearing down the hill after it at breakneck speed, once in a while even overtaking the rock. She doesn’t necessarily return the same rock that was thrown however. But then again, retrievers are not exactly know for being the brightest bulbs. The rock is then proudly carried in her mouth all the way back to the barn. She has a collection of them next to the stream, some of which I occasionally take to reuse on the walks.

Skipping to evening: the Linden tree, the barn, the house and the meadow have all melted into a charcoal darkness. A few bats — fleeting shadows — are flying over the stream (briefly barked at by Moana until I hush her) gathering up lots of mosquitos one hopes. Blink, blink, blink — three fireflies have appeared. I love fireflies, one of God’s prettiest creations. I opt now to go for the same walk I usually take in the morning, to see if I can meet more fireflies. It’s almost pitch black now. I am rewarded soon: more and more fireflies turn off and on here and there, occasionally illuminating the silhouette of a tree. They make me so happy. On the way back, I count twenty-five of them, or did I miss a few?

Have a blessed week

Ominous Skies

The other morning I awoke to dozens and dozens of lightning strikes, followed by waves of thunder. The days before had been hot and humid, and as is so often the case, this then leads to thunder and lightning. It made me think of the book of Job, where God declares his mighty power, when questioned by Job. Thunder and lighting in all it’s fury (so prevalent in Europe in the summer) humbles our little human existence.

Unable to sleep anymore, I made my way from the barn to the house to get a cup of tea. My brother’s golden retriever Moana as usual was overjoyed to see me, forgetting the turbulence all around us. It was now nine o’clock in the morning, and the sky was such a menacing black that it felt almost like it was night. I filled the kettle with water and set it on the stove to boil. Looking out the window, I could see the shadow of the ancient apple tree, a dark silhouette against an even darker sky. It was pouring rain now, and the little stream that flows by the house had turned into a raging torrent, tussling small branches in it’s path.

I gave Moana a “cookie”, as the kettle started to boil. She was completely oblivious to the weather by now, as her focus was on her treat. As I sipped my cup of tea, I opened the front door and standing in the door frame smelled the sweet smell of rain, as I watched it cascade down in sheets. This little valley seems to collect thunderstorms in the summer — they linger, but then finally move on.  As the rain softened, the black sky turned a lighter shade of gray, painting the land peaceful once more.

Have a blessed week

Bright Yellow Breakfast

I could feel that my orchids were overjoyed to be put outside for a few hours today under the rain. There is just no substitute for rain to keep a houseplant happy and healthy. On an afternoon stroll, I enjoyed the rain too, although with an umbrella over my head — after all — I’m no Phalaenopsis. While walking through one of the small alleys, much to my surprise, I found a large grapefruit that had fallen on the ground from its tree above — a bright yellow breakfast — there  for the taking.

And yes, in case the reader is wondering: Calvin got his Schnitzel morsel.

Have a blessed week.

Sunday observations

GingkoI set my alarm an hour too early by mistake today for getting to Service, but that made for a stop at the bakery beforehand, to buy some heavenly smelling French bread. The sky was hazy on the drive to Church, but occasional patches of fall color in golden ginkgo yellow and bright blood-orange red could be seen in the valley adjacent to the gray, dry, barren California hills. One of my brothers who lives in Marburg, Germany told me about walking his dog in the pouring rain a few days ago. The leaves are all gone there already in that lovely small University town, and November is a tough month to get through until the lights of the Christmas season appear.

After picking up some pistachios at the Farmer’s market (I like to eat them, my cat Calvin is adept at catching them in the air with his paws and then playing with them), I went into the donut store, where a girl — her hair tied with a pretty ribbon in a ponytail — was able on her third attempt to grab the donut I had selected with her tongs, spilling a bit of powder sugar on herself. The height difference and the counter in between accounted for this amusing delay. The donut was to be my companion for a pumpkin-spice latte.

As I sat on the bench outside the coffee store, my donut was immediately sniffed out by a dog of rather low stature, who gently took two small morsels after I got the OK from the owner. A dog three times it’s size but also still a puppy then came by to play. It had on a uniform that read: “Please ask to pet me, I’m friendly and a service dog”, so I obliged. After my petting duty was done, the two dogs played, then settled down under the bench below their owners to enjoy the early afternoon sun.

Have a blessed week