Damp is wet is driving down – it’s rain to end this drought – and mud grows deep and branches leap into coastal hills. By August, we knew what was to come: clouds would line the ridges, streams overflow, and humans park their boots at home. And when November showered, the trails emptied. Friends wanted clean noses, deer misplaced their fleece, bikers liked warm fingers, and hawks outgrew their jackets.

I preferred it.

By January, the redwoods ran wild – all the emeralds in Oz couldn’t equal those carrot top forests going…going…gone feral. Even in California, in texting distance of millions, my mountain solitude was rarely shared; I didn’t mind.

As spring walked from winter I hiked its every turn. Heavy fog teased like coffee in a bag – I wanted true storms to awaken me! So when a final ream of water chanced to fall, I was compelled to leave for the trees. This time, the mud sprinted onto my legs, and several strides were quickly reduced to a brown, sinking bath. I and the ground and the oaks seemed to falter in the storm, the beauty and difficulty of nature flattened into watery forms. Stuck, I looked up and around; the un-spectacularity of every shape emerged: just a tiny space of a medium-sized planet, temporarily equally. Everyone must weather the rain. There’s a wonderfully egalitarian feeling in the experience of so many species sharing one objective. To be – that’s the only answer, Hamlet – just take your storm out into the rain!

Today, the drought persists, and the present puddles atop the past, and I will walk those hills that are yet-to-come.

[Photo: “Cascade Stream”, Reeva Harrison, reevaharrison.com]

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