Is it time to build a boat?

I am always surprised when I turn on the nightly world news and find local coverage. But I suppose our storms have captured attention for the drama of a weather event that has us shaking our heads. We simply aren’t prepared for this much rain and snow.

California isn’t the only state affected by the latest series of storms, but it would seem to me that we are perhaps the least prepared. Rockslides, sink holes, uprooted trees, flooding, and even as I’m composing this post the rain has stopped, at least for now, the sun is out, but the winds have picked up and every few minutes something is uplifted and blown across the yard with a thud.

This time last year we were digging up the sod in our front yard and planting drought tolerant natives. Our water rationing will continue going forward, but for now our water table is surely replenished. Unfortunately, we have relative to our population and usage, few state-wide water collection reservoirs so much of this precious liquid is ocean-bound!

We live in the San Gabriel Valley, so lots of hail, but no snow. However, our proximity to the San Gabriel Mountains places us less than ten miles south of the foothills. Most winters we might see a slight dusting of snow that lingers less than a day. That’s typical. What is unusual is not just the amount of visible snow but seeing the entire range covered with snow, even at lower elevations. This has likely happened sometime in the past, but I have lived here my entire life and I have no distinct memory of any winter quite like this one.

I’ve been taking photos right and left, but they fall far short of capturing the impact I can see. Everywhere I went today people were stopping, even one person in an intersection, pulling out their phones and trying to take it all in.

If you’re reading this from the experience of someone living in a region accustomed to blizzards and freezing rain–an abundance of rain–you might be thinking this all “much ado about not much.” 

Perhaps. But our general infrastructure, including public works, is not designed to handle the impact. The mountain roads are impassable, meaning people both living and vacationing in the mountain communities are stranded, and necessary supplies of food, medication, and gasoline (for generators) is not coming to them. 

Trees have been uprooted, even in our area, and homes have been red-tagged. The flooding in parts of the state has been devastating for some. So my perspective of admiring the unusual beauty is tempered with awareness that we have been fortunate. 

I have a good roof and a warm home, unlike the unhoused. Statistics shift, but a recent article mentioned that California has nine times more unsheltered people than Washington, the state with the next highest number (115,491 people compared to 12,668.) The thought–or maybe it’s an excuse, has been that our temperate climate makes it easier for people living on the street.Big topic I can’t even begin to address, but I can attest to the recognition that the last two weeks have been brutal.

Mid-February we were enjoying a warm three days on the Central Coast, walking along the beaches and eating at some lovely outdoor spots. I wore a sweater some of the time.

These photos are evidence of the calm before the storm. Next post I’ll be sharing more about this area and what keeps bringing us back.

Much is being written about the modern science of awe as neuro-scientists report positive experiences with awe increasing feelings of satisfaction and sense of meaning.

Maybe that’s what I’m sharing here. I have been saturated, not so much by the rain, but by a sense of awe. I appreciate that you’ve let me share it with you. Be safe!