Wed 4 Mar 2009
“Climate is what you expect,” novelist Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) wrote. “Weather is what you get.”
And we sure got a lot of it yesterday. Following a wet night, Point Reyes Station by noon was sunny. By early afternoon, however, the day had turned cloudy. The full storm hit in mid-afternoon: lightning flashes and thunder in the welkin, hail and then a downpour here below.
The contrast between West Marin’s rainstorms and the three-year drought elsewhere in California was on both our minds when John Korty, Point Reyes Station’s Academy Award-winning director, and I ran into each other in the Palace Market last evening. Paradoxically, we found ourselves exchanging pleasantries about how nice the past two weeks of bad weather have been.
Marin Municipal Water District this morning reported that 3.2 inches of rain had fallen since Monday and that the amount of water in its seven reservoirs combined has reached 94 percent of normal for this time of year. All but Kent Lake (the largest reservoir) and the Soulajule Reservoir (the third largest) are full.
MMWD spokeswoman Libby Pichel told me the district is currently considering a permanent change in its system that would allow water from Nicasio Reservoir, which is relatively shallow and overflows earlier, to be pumped into Kent Lake.
West Marin has suffered through three droughts in the past 80 years. A couple of them lasted six years, 1929 through 1934 and 1987 through 1992. A two-year drought (barely over 20 inches of rain each year) kept West Marin parched in 1976 and 1977.
During a break in the weather two days ago, I watched a young doe head across my field in order to graze next to a neighbor’s cat, which was keeping an eye on a gopher hole. The pet cat remained unperturbed while the curious deer circled around it only a few feet away.
Raccoons too seem to enjoy many of the things we humans own. If I’m cooking and leave the door open to air out the kitchen, the raccoons that frequent my birdbath will pass by on the deck but refrain from entering my cabin — usually.
However, as the Gospel according to Matthew notes, “The dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” I don’t own a dog, but Monday I noted that a raccoon will eat of the bread which falls from the kitchen counter.