Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rain, More Rain, Wet Squirrels and Giant Mushrooms

The sun did not shine
It was too wet to play. 
So we sat in the house. 
All that cold, cold, wet day.
             --Dr. Seuss, "The Cat in the Hat"

It actually would have been nice to sit in the house all the cold, cold, wet day that was yesterday, November 19, 2012. But there were appointments to meet, errands to run, and school to attend. So the only ones who stayed warm and cozy inside were the cats.
November 19 is statistically the day most likely to be rainy in Seattle; it has rained on this date 89 times in the past 120 years (including this year's gulley washer). Yesterday, however, set a new record for the date. The 50-year-old record of 1.23 inches was eclipsed by noon and by day's end measured 2.16 inches. Lots more fell in coastal areas and on the peninsula and down in Oregon, and winds gusted up to speeds over 100 miles per hour in some places

Basements flooded. Trees and even trailer trucks were toppled. Roofs blew away, avenues turned into rivers, train tracks were closed. Hillsides turned into hill slides, losing their moorings and slipping down slopes and over roads. Rivers crested. In some places, migrating salmon swam across waterlogged streets.

Every year, torrential rains pummel the region in November, and yet, every year, the fury and amount of it takes us by surprise.

For our household, the rain was mostly just an inconvenience and fortunately not a catastrophe. A pause in the daily rush meant savoring a cup of coffee while flipping through recipe books at the dining room table, listening to the rain crash on the window and run down in sheets while the birch tree's supple branches swept north with the wind. 

A walk with the dog during a half-hour of clear skies meant strolling along sidewalks dappled with fallen Japanese maple leaves pressed against the pavement like hands. 

Along the way we encountered a very damp, chilly squirrel using his tail as an umbrella. 
We also discovered a patch of mushrooms that look as if they came straight out of the pages of a children's book:

November 19 must be the date when Nature tots up all those other days of the year on which children chanted "Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day" and pours out the reservoir.