California Rainin’

Running Rain

One of my neighbors made this sign.  We’ve had lots of rain here for the last couple weeks.  Let me explain what I mean.

When I lived in Philadelphia and Medford Lakes, New Jersey, we were limited to four kinds of rain: drizzle, rain, pouring, and thunder showers.

Here in the San Francisco Bay area, I can’t even begin to count the kinds of rain we have:  it starts with light misting, moves into heavy misting, then sprinkling, drizzling and soft rain.

Now we begin to get into actual drops of rain. They come in every size here. We have small, medium, medium large and large. That’s just drop sizes.  With each of these drop sizes we also have light rain, medium rain, and heavy rain.

Beyond that we have torrential pouring rain and also window-lashing-crazy-wind wild rain but this is not as common and doesn’t last as long.

We actually have a type of rain here (and I really get a kick out of this one) that we all call, “Not really raining”.  This is usually in the neighborhood of a very light drizzle..

We also have, of course, a type of rain called, “It is really raining”.

Why we care about these two is that the difference determines whether or not you need an umbrella or whether your hood will suffice.  “It’s not really raining” means, “It’s raining, but your hood is plenty, don’t need your umbrella.”

We also have sun showers where a good bit of the sky is sunny and a good portion of it is very dark and under which a whole area is raining.  These are often sprinkles or drizzles.

In Texas and Florida I’ve experienced thunder showers that split the sky and deafen your ears.

We very, very rarely get thunder showers here and it’s always a huge event when we do.  Next day everyone’s asking each other, “Did you hear that?”  It’s newsworthy.

And of course, no monsoons here.

I was laughing the other day because I walked outside with a woman I work with and another woman who is our client. The moment we walked outside and felt a sprinkle, all three of us put up our hoods.  Simultaneous motion, like synchronize swimmers.

In the Bay Area, 95% of women’s raincoats come with hoods.  The reason is that a good bit of the time you don’t actually need an umbrella, your hood is just fine.  You never know when it’s going to rain, so you most definitely need to have a hood at all times.  Living here it’s inconceivable to me to buy a raincoat that doesn’t have a hood.  It’s what you wear during the rainy season between November and April.

I remember when I first arrived and I walked into Macy’s to look for a winter coat, 90% of them were raincoats.  So different than the winter coats I was used to in the Philadelphia and New York department stores.

So when someone says, “It’s raining outside.”  We all go to the window as we’re asking, “What kind?”  Because, “It’s raining” could mean anything.

By the way, our winters are very mild, compared to others I’ve experienced. When you live out here, your definition for “cold “changes.  I recently saw a headline that said, Californians brace for a 50° cold front.   So true!  We consider 55° cold .  If the wind-chill takes it down to 40°, you see us bundling up, shivering and discussing it.  We’re prepared for rain.  Not for cold.

With all the rain, starting in January, by now it starts to feel like spring has come early, many flowers already blooming.  For a girl from Philly, this is 4 months early.

It’s pouring as I write this.  This year we have rain, lots of it.  It’s making everything green, the world smell fresh, it nurtures the life around us.

May you too be surrounded by all that nurtures your life force and makes you feel like Spring.

Love,

Ingrid

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