Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Break in the Rain

NINE DAYS AND NIGHTS OF RAIN – just 31 short of needing to retrieve the old cubit stick and start construction on a big boat. On the tenth day, a brave winter sun warmed the atmosphere just enough to melt a marine layer that blanketed the valley. Blue sky. A January rarity. Knowing that tomorrow could be just as wet and nasty as its day-before-yesterday, today is the only day to ride.

Before there was Shasta Dam, the Great Central Valley filled with rainwater in the winter and drained itself dry late in the spring. Long before there was a Canada, Canadian geese (as well as other water fowl) wintered in the waters of the Sacramento drainage, feasting on fish and their eggs, insects and their larvae, worms and roots and all manner of creation.

Today, a bright, low winter sun illuminates an azure sky; a sky reflected in the still water standing in fallow, laser-leveled rice fields of Yolo, Sutter and northern Sacramento Counties. Coursing along a secondary road north of the capitol, one would think the air would be warmer with that bright sun beaming so generously. But any chill is forgotten once the rider is absorbed in the teaming life of the winter valley. The colors. The contrasts. Distant lines of riparian trees follow the meandering routes of the Feather, the Yuba and the Sacramento. A snow glazed Sierra to the east and a deep purple coastal range to the west. And in between: Great sheets of white fowl covering endless expanses of deep blue fields.

Tomorrow – hell, later today – I’ll be gone. And in time, mankind, also, because that’s just the way of things. The massive dam up north will crumble and the Great Central Valley will return to its natural cycle of flood and dust. Crops of rice and wheat and corn and cattle will give way to native grasses and flowers. Oak and willow will slowly return. And through it all, long after Canada is no more, those Canadian geese will winter and feast here.

Thrilled with the opportunity to see this today, I ride home, knowing tomorrow, it’s gonna rain.

© 2010
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. This is beautiful. I love the azure of a newly clear January sky. It gives me hope.

  2. I love my technology filled existence, but often I wish I could travel back or forward in time to see my home state in all of its natural wonder. To walk for days and see nothing but trees, grasslands, mashes, foothills, and soaring mountains. That would surely fill me with peace and wonder.

  3. Have I got some spots picked out for you!!!