Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Watching clouds


 Have you ever heard of people who rush towards a volcano when they hear that it's about to erupt? Well, I felt a bit like that as I drove out to the bach on the very weekend when rain could be falling.
Rain, what's that? We hadn't seen any for weeks. The whole of the north island has been declared a drought zone, and even the west coast of the south island—where there's enough rain to fill a dozen gumboots a day —was applying to the government to be declared a drought zone. And so if rain was going to fall, I wanted to be there. These clouds could be hiding what we've all been waiting for.
But by evening, the picture was a little uncertain. They seemed to be rolling away once more.
 The next morning I awoke to a new sensation in the air. I couldn't hear rain, but I could sense it in the air. And sure enough, when I looked out, there was the most gentle rainfall that you could imagine, like a cloud coming down and kissing the earth.
Would it be enough? The farmers grumbled, 'no.'
But I could see that this was perfect. The earth was being gently softened and prepared
 for what followed the next day: rain falling in streaks from the sky.
 Rain falling with a splash and a rebound, Yes, real, wet rain.
It must have revived the insects pretty fast, because the trees were soon filled with tiny fantails and wax eyes, who were happily flitting and catching their food.
My choir friend, who is a scientist, told me that I was right to feel that this gentle soaking was exactly what the earth needed. She said that when the ground dries out, its chemical structure changes and it becomes hydrophobic. Now isn't that an odd word! My psychological training immediately gives me a picture of the ground with a great fear, or phobia, of water.
But it just means that the ground has sealed itself off. In order to accept water once more, it needs a bit of retraining. I guess that's not unlike humans with phobias.
So here we are, with people smiling and saying, isn't the rain wonderful! The berries are happy, all clean and lush, and I'm sure the berry-eating birds will be happy too.

11 comments:

Marja said...

A gentle soaking Nicely expressed. I enjoyed the freshness as well.
We tested our ground and it soaked in for about 10 cm. Let's see what tomorrow brings

juliet said...

* Marja, glad you are getting it too. 10 cm is a good start.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

H Juliet .. I know how that feels after living in South Africa, but in fact living here too - after our drought of recent years ...

Now we have too much of the wet stuff!

Such is life ... loved the photos though and the information you've given us ... cheers Hilary

juliet said...

* Hilary, South Africa must be challenging for gardeners and farmers, and then even Britain . . . Times are changing.
Thanks for your comment.

Lynley said...

I think so many eyes were on the clouds Juliet.

We had over 2 inches of rain here which was more than predicted but we did not turn it away.

Let's hope for more for those in dire need.

No clouds to watch today though.

juliet said...

* Lynley, glad you got a good lot of rain. Every little counts.

Vicki Lane said...

The joy of rain after a drought! And that gentle pre-soaking was perfect. And so well described.

juliet said...

* Vicki, the rain has brought smiles to many faces.
Thank you.

Diana Drent said...

Glad to read that it rains. Nature welcomes it with open arms. And not only nature ...

Penny O'Neill said...

I've been so busy this week that I just now had time to sit down to watch the clouds with you, and sing praises for the rain finally falling there. Joy!

Our ground is a bit hydrophobic as well, but in a different way. We had all that snow, then freezing temperatures for days, then rain, followed by little ponds all over the place for the water and the earth did not know how to dance anymore.

I

juliet said...

* Diana, we are all welcoming the rain.

* Penny, how interesting that freezing creates a resistance to letting in the moisture also. Yes, it's time for praises indeed as the green plants perk up and smile again.

Thank you, Diana, and Penny.