Tag Archives: rain

Praying for sun gives way to praying for rain

There once was a time — long ago! — when rain drove me nuts. It made me stir-crazy. I suffered cabin fever because it rained constantly in my hometown of Portland, Ore.

I took a couple of years away from home to serve in the U.S. Army; my hitch took me to Vietnam, where it also rains a good bit of the time.

I got married not long after I returned home. My wife, sons and I eventually moved to Texas; our first stop was in Beaumont, which also gets a good bit of rain. Then my wife and I moved to Amarillo, where, um, it doesn’t rain so much.

We are now in the midst of a drought. It’s been months on end since we had any measurable moisture.

I no longer pray for sunshine. I now pray for rain. I am doing so this evening. The weather forecasters are telling us we can expect some rain tomorrow.

I hope they’re right. Oh, brother, I want them to be correct.

I’ve written on this subject before.

This isn't the Dust Bowl, but …

Forgive me if I’m repeating myself. Still, it bears repeating. The Texas Panhandle doesn’t get a lot of rain annually, only about 20 inches — give or take. This year we’ve got to go some if we’re going to reach our annual average.

The region is quite dependent on agriculture, which quite naturally requires water. Those dry land farmers who don’t pump groundwater to irrigate their crops rely exclusively on the sky to bring rainfall to them. Five-plus months of no measurable “precip” has deprived them of their income — and their ability to produce food that ends up on our dinner tables.

My outlook about rain has changed dramatically since my boyhood. I griped so much about the rain I drove my parents — chiefly my dad — to near madness.

With all of that said, I think I’ll wait — and hope — that the Texas Panhandle gets wet.

Rain offers new appreciation

I awoke this morning to the sound of rain beating on the front of my house.

It was music to my ears.

The sound used to be like fingernails on the chalkboard. It annoyed me. I was a lot younger then, growing up in a community known for its incessant rain.

Portland, Ore., is a lovely city. It’s full of tall timber and lots of flowers. It’s called the City of Roses and every June, it stages a festival honoring the roses that are in full bloom. The highlight of the festival, for me, was the Grand Floral Parade through downtown Portland. Mom and Dad would take us every year. We’d get there early, find a nice spot on the parade route and wait for the sounds of the drums.

It seemed to rain every year on our parade, though.

Which brings me to my point.

I hated the rain as a kid. I griped about it constantly. My parents tired of me always complaining.

Then I grew up, went away for a couple of years to serve in the Army, came home, got married and eventually my bride and I moved to Texas.

We gravitated to Amarillo more than 20 years ago.

It doesn’t rain nearly as much here as it does in Portland, or in Beaumont, where my family and I lived for the first 11 years of our Texas residency. It’s not that Portland gets a lot of rain each year, it’s that it seems to drizzle constantly. We could more rain in Beaumont in an hour than would fall in Portland in a month.

I’ve come to appreciate the rain much more now. The Panhandle drought has awakened me to the value that rainwater brings to everything. To the economy, to our ability to function as a society, to the fulfillment of our basic needs — such as quenching our thirst and, you know, bathing.

I won’t complain ever again about too much rain.

Growing up teachesĀ us the value of things that used to annoy us.

Today, I intend to enjoy the sight and smell of the rain.

Drought far from broken

Just so that we’re clear: The drought that has gripped the Texas Panhandle for, oh, the past four years is far from being broken.

Despite the rain we’ve enjoyed the past couple of days and the anticipated rain that’s expected to fall during the next couple of days, the drought remains quite intact.

Last time I looked, Amarillo’s year-to-date precipitation level — even with the amounts we’ve had since the middle of the week — is but a fraction of where it’s supposed to be.

Yes, our playas are full of water. Many of the streams that had gone dry have water running through them. The grass is greener. The air is fresher. We’re all walking with a bit more of a spring in our step.

The drought? It ain’t going anywhere until we get a lot more rainfall.

I hasten to add that a year ago we had a spate of rain that gave us hope. Then it stopped raining. Do you recall what happened then? The ground turned dry, just like it had been before the rain came. It didn’t take long for the conditions to return to what we had known; that’s what the summer heat around here can do.

Long-range forecasts aren’t too promising. They project more dry weather and warmer-than-normal temperatures. Some experts do suggest a possible change in Pacific Ocean currents and a possible return of El Nino, the warming of the ocean water that produces more cloud cover that moves inland and brings moisture. Whether it materializes remains anyone’s guess.

We’re all grateful beyond measure for what we’ve gotten — and what we’re expected to get. Perhaps all those prayers have brought it. Who can dispute the power of prayer?

Maybe a good bit more prayer can bring an end to the drought.

It can’t hurt.

Rain becomes talking point

We’ve been mired here along the Texas Panhandle Caprock in this hideous drought.

Dry land farmers can’t grow crops, given that they depend on rainfall to irrigate their land.

It’s been tough around here for, oh, about four years.

So, when the weather forecasters keep harping on the prospects for rain, well, we want to believe them. Heaven knows they keep saying it’ll change, that moisture will return eventually. We want to believe them, but the longer we went without any relief, the harder it has become to put faith in their words.

That has changed in the past day or two.

Wednesday produced the first actual thunderstorm I can remember in a good while in our Amarillo neighborhood. More of it came today. The rain gauge hasn’t moved much yet, but it’s gotten pretty wet out there.

I ran some errands today, visited with folks and overheard others talking about, that’s right, the rain. Nothing else. No politics. I didn’t hear much about the VA scandal, or the upcoming Texas elections, or whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in two years.

Rain. That was the topic.

I ventured out this morning and so help me I thought the birds were chattering with more gusto than I’ve heard them for as long as I can remember.

Do we want the kind of rain that has flooded other parts of the state or the country? No thanks, of course. But some more of this moisture surely gives us something more pleasant to discuss with our friends and neighbors than what we’re getting out of Austin or Washington.