Friday, December 5, 2014

The rains came!

And oh did they come! – after three dry years! – I woke in the night to hear hard rain hammering onto our roof and windows.  It sounded foreign to my ears attuned to the sounds of drought. And next morning – what’s this? – standing water in my garden!  I measured my rain gauge and it was just shy of 2 “ for the past 24 hours.  Our total since July 1 is now over 6 inches.
Rain out a school room window
I guess that I’m superstitious – I am afraid that the whims of climate change may decide that this is enough.  All we can do is wait and accept what comes our way… But for now – our hills are once more green with newly sprouted grass… it is beautiful…
Our "green season" hills

The "brown season" - goats involved in weed control!
This is our closest thing we have to spring-time in Northern California… Dormancy brought on by 3 years of dryness has been broken... our plants return to active life.  The native people in this land recognized only two seasons – the green season and the brown season… A brief rainbow developed in a break in the storms when a burst of sunlight flashed through for a few minutes
Close up, detail view of rainbow - with iPhoto augmentation

It would be easy to get complacent - we are still in the drought - our reservoirs and ground water are still sorely depleted.  Its not OK (yet) to take long showers and wash our cars.
Commute on a rainy day -
My favorite weather site these days is “wundeground” :… You can adjust it for your city and neighborhood… I like the little graphs that show predicted rainfall and the big full screen Wundermap that shows actual rainfall – it even has the ability to run a fast clip of the weather events  in the last half hour:
"Rain, rain, come again another day!"

A Dozen Observations from inside my warm car as I travel through an American inner city…

1.     Grafitti, trash, closed signs
2.     Brake repair shops- Mama-Pop grocery stores – Ethnic Fast food – Store front churches – Hair salons – Used tires - Mortuary- Used clothing stores - Pawn shops - Homes needing paint.
3.     Six men leaning or sitting next to a wall eating lunches from the “All are Welcome” homeless mission
Inner city scene
4.     People going about their daily business – working, buying, chatting, planning, laughing, supporting each other.
5.  Two well dressed young women walking talking, returning back to work after lunch
6.     Young man in wheel chair (no leg) who comes out each day to get away from the isolation of his rented room – Another man stands talking to him
7.     Teens cutting school sitting on the curb drinking sodas – talking and laughing  

Grafitti on street
8.     Woman in flashy clothes, short skirt standing next to wall watching people go by
9.     A man is walking slowly along the street, dejected, aimlessly because he has no-where to go.
10.     Eight young guys on the corner looking their practiced kind of tough.

Police presence
11.  A small plaza with benches - 23 men, various ages in an area with over 40 % unemployment....talking, playing dominos, smoking, passing the time...
12.  Young man leaning in the window of car parked next to the curb talking to someone inside - after a moment be returns to the street.

Why do some people in our country feel prevented from participating in our society?  Who (what) told them that they ‘better stay in their place‘.  How did they get the message that they can't "get ahead?" …

Street Grafitti
Reminds me of a poem by Langdon Hughes: “A Dream Deferred”

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

The issues apply to Black, Latino, and Asian populations in the Bay Area

This week I urge you to actively work for  racial justice in your community – support serious examination of our cities police policies.  Be a voice for equitable justice for all.  End policies that result in police deaths for everyone...(why do we have so many more per capita police deaths than other developed countries?)

Recognize that there are good policemen and fair police policies.  Hold these up as examples.  In the others, racism must be exposed and brought to the light of day...