Piedmont Winter Rain

You may need to be a gardener to fully appreciate winter rain. To commuters and children waiting for school buses, it is an inconvenience. Cold drops dampen roads and clothes. Bad hair days abound.

But I am practically giddy with anticipation of the most significant rain event promised for my region in months. Yes, months. My area is in moderate drought — right now, in the middle of January. Probably only gardeners appreciate the seriousness of this.

My creek is low, barely flowing. The mud puddles that usually dot my floodplain in winter are absent. Where will the salamanders breed? They need wet spots devoid of fish to deposit and fertilize their eggs.

Where will the water for my vegetable garden come from if our shallow well doesn’t refill before the growing season begins? As it is, most years, the well goes dry in early August. The tomatoes and squash — both water-hungry veggies — suffer and decline in my late summer garden when I can no longer water.

Rain-swollen creeks flush out old debris, and if our creek overflows and deposits some of that debris on our floodplain, I’m okay with that. Such events bring the Great Blue Herons closer, as they patrol the flooded area seeking stranded fish.

Today (and tomorrow, if the weather forecasts are accurate), I will sit snug in a chair and listen happily to the music of rain on my roof. I will step outside and inhale the long-absent moisture in the air and listen to busy bird calls. They appreciate the benefits of winter rain too, I think.

And if I am fortunate enough to hear rain dancing on my roof as I sleep tonight, my dreams will be sweetened by visions of soft spring green leaves, fragrant flowers, and abundant fruits.

Rain equals life. May we all get what we need to flourish.

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