Sunday, September 21, 2008

...rainy Sunday...

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“There will be a rain dance Friday night, weather permitting”

~ George Carlin
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Imagine that... the first day of fall -- the autumnal equinox -- and its raining. Aah, rain...

In Thailand my first monsoon rain hit one day while I was riding the bus downtown, heading to my bungalow. I thought I'd run and maybe not get so wet. Hah... monsoon rains are literal sheets of pounding, big-drop rain and there is no avoiding them. I would lay in my hammock on my porch and listen to the approaching deluge as it rattled on the tin roofs that covered virtually every structure in town. As a kid from the Northwest, no stranger to rain, I was impressed.

But this morning's rain is just a sneeze. A misty dampening that won't last long. I've looked at the radar maps and there isn't much precipitation out there. But it started me thinking about rain (I have never known any women named "rain" until these first few years of the new millenium, here in the verdant south Willamette (Will-am-ette, not Willuh-mette) valley. Its a name that fits up here.

When I was doing the anti-nuclear weapons protest thing down in Central CA, we had a massive pounding of rain storms that spring and we were camped on a private farm near the Chumash rez and Solvang. In places around Santa Barbara County rainfall was up to 10 - 12 inches in 24 hours. The meadows and rolling hills we (the protestors planning civil disobedience and supporters, numbering in the hundreds) were camped in were soaking... saturated beyond the rich soil's capacity, water flowing everywhere. Our meetings were held in a huge tent. And if you're not familiar with non-violent civil disobedience organizational practices... well... its something we all need to witness. It is total participatory cooperative democracy in action. Everyone has a voice yet the individual voice defers to the groups who speak thru their spokespeople. Individual speaking is reserved and what you say should have some import.

So its pouring rain, everything is wet and there are people crammed into this tent. Temperatures are cool but mild and the group is discussing tomorrow's action at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Personally, I'm outside digging a trench around this huge tent to get rid of the water flooding off the roof. I'm soaked but stoked. A rain like that is a wonder of nature. At that time I was in the peak of my discovery of myself and my friends as beings of nature and integral parts of nature. We were doing sweats, we were in good health and the efforts to push back against the insanity of the tens of thousands nuclear weapons that were threatening all of the earth's inhabitants were energizing.

A woman was the day's facilitator. Starhawk was the perfect choice for that day. Many people were miserable from the wet and complaining, yet we had business to take care of and the rain was just something else we had to deal with. And we were. Because many of us were working outside in the downpour, not complaining... when I finally heard someone inside the tent say something that must have been almost a curse upon the rain. I entered the tent, dripping rain from my rain gear, shovel in hand and asked to speak. I said something along the lines of "this rain is a blessing upon all the creatures of this land, without it we all cease to exist and rather than complain we need to be grateful for its appearance here with us. We are here as natural beings and we represent all of our fellow natural beings. It is in our best interests to be thankful and respectful." And I went back out to keep digging my trench. The day we went to block the front gate was a day of sun with the storm breaking into a beautiful blue sky and fleeting clouds.

There is a place east of Fresno in the hills leading up to the Sierras that I used to hike and camp a lot. A beautiful creek flows down a steep yet rolling canyon and it is rarely hiked by others so I almost always had it to myself. There is a place where the creek turns a corner around a rock outcrop and then falls about 80' to a pool probably 50' across and maybe 10' - 15' deep. When the rains come to the mountains this waterfall becomes a massive hydrant. The noise of the water is as loud as any rock and roll concert I've ever attended. The water shoots out about 30' and roars... but to see it, you have to hike in the pouring rain.

Opal Creek is another place that has its share of rainy days and the first place that I learned, in Oregon if you don't work in the rain... you don't work. But Opal Creek gets about 100+ inches of rainfall a year. And of course it is that rain that makes the place what it is... Oregon's Gem.

Anyway... the rain has stopped here already. I was just going to post some pictures but had to talk about the rain. And because I do believe that water, an element without which we -- and all life -- would be but dust, is a sacred thing that we defile and disrespect regularly.

But that is another day's rant... I'll leave you with some images both recent and not so, starting with brother Marty getting a workout at McCready hot springs (a good, hot soak):




Davis Lake and Davis Mountain, from Stumpy's Point


Chewaucan River, south of Paisley


Sandhill cranes and Canadian geese


Petroglyph, Crump Lake


Looking northwest towards Silver Lake


Sunset here at the farm with smoke from a forest fire filling the valley


Left hand as seen from the right hand


Following the flume line at Opal Creek, a walk every Jawbone Flats residing caretaker knows well...


Whitehead Creek

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It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

~ Voltaire

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