• Rain Spoken Here •
Those of us who live in “country Malibu” revel in the kind of weather we are now experiencing. Not only are our creeks flowing freely, but all the waterfalls on the back acreage are joyously cascading down rock formations, providing musical accompaniment for birds singing more brightly than ever. The horses, goats and llamas always find the perfect blend of outdoors and shelter to suit their fancy. The dogs play tag with rain showers, then collapse with contentment. As for the landscaping, mine as well as nature’s is so seductive that even when a powerful storm cell breaks open above you, you don’t rush for cover.
I can hardly believe that only a few months ago, I was facing the unpleasant reality that the water level in my decades-old well was dropping below the submersible pump, and I was going to have to bring the unit up and add more line—no minor task 100 or so feet below the surface. I summarized my options and even looked into water delivery services, in case the situation took a turn for the worse and I had to consider drilling a new well to meet the need for acres of irrigation and livestock lines. As I knew too well, the entire state was entering its third year of drought. There was no denying the seriousness of the situation.
The typical urbanite/suburbanite, and that includes many of the residents of Malibu’s more densely developed areas, gives little thought to what comes out of his or her faucets. If there’s no water, there’s an emergency number to call. But coming from a farming and ranching heritage that spans dozens of generations on three continents, I may have a genetic predisposition to disregard the hardships that are inherent in a rural lifestyle. There are no emergency numbers to call when there is no rain. That doesn’t mean that there are no lines of communication in times of crisis. It’s just that they can run the gamut from profanity in moments of anger to prayer in moments of calm.
Those who depend the most on nature don’t feel its fury any less. We need the rain, but when there is too much, such as right after a wildfire, flooding can be severe. If the creek jumps its banks, the hay rolls that have been stockpiled can only do so much to keep the waters in check. Preparedness has its limits when the coefficient of the water’s speed is the amount of rainfall divided by the interval between storms.
Someone stopped by the newspaper offices earlier and good-naturedly muttered something about my fixation with the weather. He said that the rain is bad for his business, as well as mine. On one level, I suppose I can agree with that. A primitive, prehistoric reverence for rain is either quintessentially logical or illogical. Perhaps it is comparable to learning to speak one’s first language. The lexicon of rain includes calamity and woe, but without it, there is no life.