Archive for January, 2010


When I was a boy in Philadelphia, I’d watch the weather reports closely for impending snow storms, with school closures, sledding, and snowball fights in mind. Wally Kinnan, the Weatherman, was the local guru. Seemed like every week Wally would prognosticate a storm, and I had my gear in the ready, because Wally seemed rarely to be wrong. Later, moving to New England, where weather was a spectator sport, I followed just as closely. Don Kent was the weather guy there, and he too was a crack weatherman. I even interviewed him for an article for Yankee Magazine in the 70s–a great thrill. Now, in northern California, later in life, I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for a good corker of a storm, and we’ve got a whole series cooking this week and next. Brush Creek is now a torrent, just a few weeks after it was a mere series of puddles, sucked dry by drought. The TV weather ladies and gentlemen out here aren’t nearly as proficient–they get it wrong a lot–but occasionally, like now, they hit a lucky streak, and nail it. Radio’s Mike Pechner is probably the most skilled, with the TV folk trailing woefully behind.

El Nino takes the real credit here. It has no political affiliation, represents no interest groups, has no ulterior motives, and cares not a whit for the effect it has on human beings. El Nino just is, and not subject to the whims or desires of people. May the weather always be uncontrollable and questionably predictable. The only controllable factor is where we build our houses and roads, and drive our vehicles!

A swollen Brush Creek, Santa Rosa CA


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Amazing what a good, juicy rainstorm can do for a creek in northern California. Just the other day, the water was still and stagnant, uninspiring, murky, unworthy of a “wild” moniker. But yesterday, after a couple of days of soakers, the creek has come alive with white water dancing over rocks like Balanchine dancers. Walking the path next to the creek, I am drenched with rain: shoes, coat, hat, gloves. I was not particularly prepared. But must I always be? Can’t I go out like Muir and let the elements have me as they will? What is wrong with being fully wet? For once you reach that saturation point, you can’t get any wetter than wet. I began to see that and started to relax with the wetness. This heightened my enjoyment of the rushing creek and its wild, brown water seemingly impatient to reach Santa Rosa Creek and the expansive Laguna de Santa Rosa several miles to the west.

More rain is forecast for the rest of this week and into the next. And as Brush Creek comes ever more alive, so do I.

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