NICE WEATHER FOR DUCKS
21 May 2002
The patient left a message on the office machine saying she had to cancel her
appointment this afternoon. She was coming from Folsom, about 40 miles away, and had just
heard the news report of tornado threats and heavy rains and she didn't want to deal with
treacherous road conditions. (Tornados? In California?)
I have to admit that I was not disappointed to wake up to wet streets this morning. I
don't know why I had no energy whatsoever. Instead of being up and awake at 4 a.m., like I
usually am, when 5:30 rolled around and the alarm went off, I desperately wanted to
snuggle down under the blankets a bit longer.
The very last thing I wanted to do was get on my bike and ride to the club. The TV
weather person showed the Doppler radar map with rain headed this way and I gave myself
permission to drive to the club instead of taking the bike. (Actually, I didn't feel like
going to the club either, so this was a compromise between my body and the elements)
It still hadn't started raining when I left the club and I really could have biked
safely, but I was just as glad that I had not. The clouds continued to get blacker and
blacker and it was obvious that "something" was going to happen that day.
It had just started to drizzle a bit when I arrived at the office shortly after noon.
When I began making the call backs, it started to rain harder. By the time I got to the
patient who was afraid to go out on the freeway, the skies opened up. Sheets of rain
flooded the parking lot, lightning flashed over head, and then the hail started. The radio
news reported tornadoes in the area as well. I told the patient that she had made a wise
When I hung up the phone, I couldn't help it. I opened the front door and stood under
the wooden roof of the walkway and just watched the rain. It was like being in the monsoon
of a 40s movie. I was sorry when it finally began to taper off and move northward, in the
direction of the patient.
I have always loved rain. I would make a good Seattle-ite. There is nothing depressing
to me about the thought of rain for weeks on end. I love listening to the sound of rain on
the roof. (Of course, to be honest, I have never experienced a year in Seattle, so my
opinion might change were I ever to be in that position.)
When I think of rain, I'm instantly transported back to San Francisco. I have no idea
why this memory pops up every time it rains. I'm a young adolescent--maybe 12? 13? It's
Christmas time and the tree is up and decorated. It's also pouring rain outside. This
snippet of memory concerns just how warm and cozy I felt sitting there on the seat in the
window, watching the rain pelt down, the water drops joining thousands of other water
drops, forming a river racing down the face of Leavenworth Street.
I'd heard about flash flooding all my life, but I never understood it until I spent a
month in Houston during one summer. It was an ordinary day and I made plans to attend
Cirque du Soleil with some friends on the grounds of the Astrodome. They lived toward the
east of Houston and I was staying the far western Houston. They picked me up and as we
headed in the direction of the Astrodome, it began to rain. Within about 10 minutes, you
could hardly see out the front window of the car. We parked not that far from the tent
where the show was being performed. I was wearing a dress and a jacket. Naturally I had no
umbrella--I never do because I like walking in the rain.
We got out of the car and raced to the tent in the near-blinding rain. By the time we
reached the tent, I could literally wring water out of my dress. Never have I been so wet
in my life. The tent was filled with people in various stages of wet and the start of the
show was nearly drowned out by the rain outside. My friends told me they were afraid they
might not be able to get me back to west Houston because the freeway tended to flood in
rains this heavy. (Fortunately, the rain stopped soon enough that we were able to get back
I was wet and miserable, but I still loved the excitement of the heavy rains.
The rain this afternoon didn't last all that long. It moved through in about 10
minutes. Dr. G is concerned that it may have hurt his roses and his strawberries. With no
garden to worry about, I was free just to enjoy the brief downpour.