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Welcome to Leave

Usually at this time of year, our rain barrels are just beginning to fill up — replenishing from the brutality of summer. But this year they’ve been full for many weeks. That’s when the rains started.

The Farmers’ Market: Poor Ben. He is the director/manager of the Sunset Valley Farmers’ Market. They have had dismal, rainy weather every Saturday for weeks and weeks. Not good for turnout. Indeed, the weather forecast for yesterday had been sufficiently grim that they cancelled the music, which is one of the features that make the market a destination. The other feature is the playscape. In the usual heat of summer, kids can play on massive foam blocks in the relatively cool shade of Live Oak trees, and even on gray days like the ones we’ve had, the playscape is mobbed.

The Swollen River: As I drove north on Mopac (for the first time in several months, since my work commute mercifully no longer goes that way), I crossed over the river. The hike and bike trails are closed, because they’ve had the highland lake flood control dams dumping flood water into the river as fast as downstream communities can accommodate. The water level was high. The national press is showing pictures of the flood control gates wide opened. My far-away mother is apoplectic that we will be washed away. From the highway bridge, the current was visibly swift. And the water was a chocolate-milk brown. There were no boats on the water.

Persimmons: One of the fruit on our Japanese Persimmons ripened a few weeks ago. It was well ahead of the others, because it was high up and could get light longer as the afternoon sun passed behind the roof. It was soft and luscious red while the lower-down fruit were hard and yellow-orange. One afternoon I went out to pick it only to find that the birds or squirrels had beat me to it (probably earlier that very day). Since then, there has been no sun whatsoever, and with the rain, we haven’t ventured out into the yard to check on the remaining fruit — until today. I walked across the wet, squishy yard to the Persimmon tree with now-orange-red fruit making the limbs sag with their weight. But they are still hard and as a test proved too astringent to eat yet. Not enough sun. Too much rain. Who knows who will get them first: us or the squirrels and birds.

I never thought I would long for the day when a rain would stop. It has always been welcome, here. But right now, it’s welcome to leave for a while.