It’s been said that we live our life “one foot in the cradle, and one foot in the grave”.
Here in these hills we live our lives around two distinct realities, fire and rain.
One represents the killing off of all life it touches… and the other one represents the giving of life, and renewal, but is also a double-edged sword.
Fire is the great leveler, bringing all down in a cataclysm of ash…. capricious, often passing one home over, and destroying those around. It can be prepared for, and the home can be shielded somewhat, but you are still at the whims of a force of nature, as awesome, uncaring and terrible as a hurricane, tornado, or artillery, and the devastation afterward can resemble an apocalyptal moonscape. There is not a whole lot more sad than to drive through an area of burned homes, steaming stumps and chimneys marking habitations.
Rain can come as the great cleanser after a fire. While it gives life and renewal to the natural landscape… on fire-devastated land it is the affliction that follows the curse. The heat-sealed soil will lock tightly after a fire, creating a ‘terra-cotta’ effect, sealing off much of the soil from the water. The water will run down ashen slopes that were covered with chaparral and trees that previously shielded the soil, preventing erosion and allowing entry of the water reducing run-off…. as the water rolls down following the contours, it will pick up stones and rocks which will break through the locked soil surface…. as they all roll into the opened raw soil, they will scour the soil creating a channel, a gully, this can quickly open pulling many tons of soil away, washing it downstream to silt watersheds, rivers and creeks… and taking the good soil from the slopes.
The rain we got the last two days came at a good steady rate for us… we did not have any creeks running, the dry soil took all the rain that fell. We are glad it was enough to get the ground wet, and we’re glad is was not enough to cause run-off on our place. We pray for the places that had burns, hoping they gain a cover of green before the big rains come in Jan and Feb.
Here’s what the weather blogger Jeff Masters says about our latest storm:
The remains of Super Typhoon Melor dumped record-breaking amounts of rain over California over the past 24 hours, but the storm is now departing the state without having caused major damage. Mining Ridge in Monterey County had an extraordinary 21.34″ of rain, and several locations in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Clara counties had over 10″ of precipitation. Downtown San Francisco recorded 2.49 inches of rain, which is the greatest 24 hour rainfall for the month of October (records have been kept since 1849). Monterey also set a record for the greatest October rainfall, 2.66″. Strong winds accompanied the storm, with the Twin Peaks in San Francisco recording a hurricane-force gust of 75 mph, Angel Island, 77 mph, and Los Gatos in the Santa Cruz Mountains, 87 mph. Sustained winds in excess of tropical storm force were experienced at several locations along the coast. The Point Reyes Lighthouseexperienced sustained winds of 46 mph, gusting to 63 mph, at the peak of the storm. The Sierra Mountains probably experienced hurricane-force wind gusts, and received several feet of snow. California was lucky this storm came early in their rainy season, since the ground was dry from a year-long drought and the soils were able to absorb a great deal of the rain. Melor’s Deluge in California will be a great boon for the state, helping it to overcome one of the most severe droughts in the past 50 years.
‘Fire and Rain’
Won’t you look down upon me, Jesus?
You’ve got to help me make a stand
You’ve just got to see me through another day
My body’s aching and my time is at hand
And I won’t make it any other way
Oh, I`ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again
Been walking my mind to an easy time my back turned towards the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line
to talk about things to come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground