Wednesday, September 5, 2012

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The Power of Rain

Dark rain clouds

Today was a good day. It rained.

Not the light drizzle we’ve had occasionally this summer but a drenching, close-all-the-windows-and-cancel-the-car-wash kind of rain. The sort that makes you want to grab an umbrella, find a lamp post and do your best Gene Kelly imitation.

Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Credit: MGM/The Kobal Collection
You can water and water until the nozzle of your hose seems like it has become a permanent part of your hand, but there’s nothing like a really good rain to revive your garden.

Maybe it’s the temporary drop in temperature during a storm or the higher humidity that inevitably follows. Maybe it's the lightning strikes that fix nitrogen. 

I suspect it may have something to do with the quality of the water, as rainwater doesn’t have chlorine and other chemicals added by municipalities to keep us humans healthy.

But I don’t want to rehash the old arguments about the merits of tap water versus rainwater in the garden
All I know is that I kept my plants alive through the current drought with tap water. They didn’t really start looking decent again, though, until it rained.

Granted, it's not Hurricane Isaac, whose remnants barely grazed the Chicago area. This rain and more forecast later this week, however, are enough to revive my dream that this drought may actually end some day. I guess we can only hope.

Maybe this is Mother Nature's way of teaching us a lesson -- that despite our air conditioned houses, cars and trucks, despite our fancy crop irrigation systems, she's still in control.

While the drought isn't as noisy, flashy or as sudden as a hurricane or tornado, its effects will be felt in the Midwest for a long time to come. It also should give all of us a new appreciation for what the Dust Bowl, which stemmed from an even worse drought, must have been like back in the 1930's.

Remember that old Carpenters song, "Rainy Days and Mondays"?  I used to be like that. Rain was depressing as it meant I couldn't go out in the garden.

Not any more. Rain is now a cause for celebration.

As another song noted, don't it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

By Karen Geisler

raindrops Grace smoketree
Traces of rain from a short cloudburst back in July


  1. Same sentiments here, Karen. I agree with, and have experienced, everything you've said here. I doubt I'll ever take rain or lightening for granted again. Beautifully communicated, Karen.

    1. By the way, this would be a great addition to the "Lessons Learned" meme now live on PlantPostings. :)

  2. Karen I have been thinking of rain as we have seen so little....I have a post partially done for October just about rain when i hope we see more...I celebrate all the rain and learned that even when we have more than we think we need, Mother knows better...great post!

  3. I really love rain! Maybe because of the noise it makes in the roof that I find it fascinating. Listening to is just makes me calm. Anyway, it is also good for my garden! lol!

    1. Hmmm...Rain on the Roof. A great sound and a great song to boot!

  4. I agree...there is nothing like rain for the garden. No matter how much I water, the rain works magic!