There is something about the rain that brings out the little kid in me, especially after the rain-parched winter that California has had this year. When I hear the rain on the roof and smell the odor that comes from moist earth, I want to grab my rain jacket, hat and boots and go play outside with Rainie. Despite her name, I think Rainie truly prefers to get wet from the bottom-up, the way she does in the ocean while wading into the water; but once she begins to frolic in the tall, wet grass, and romps in the ‘lake’ that forms in the corner of our driveway, her reticence is soon replaced by pure glee. Last night, as I listened to the rain hit our skylights while watching the occasional lightning fill the sky, Eddie Rabbit’s song “I Love A Rainy Night” filled my head.
However, I think more songs should be written about the morning after a rainstorm when the sun glistens from every leaf and everything is fresh and clean. Rainie and I set out for an early morning walk. It was so early that despite the sun being up, there was no one else around. I felt like we had the world all to ourselves.
Rainie was so excited to leave the house. As her body enthusiastically followed her nose, it looked as if every smell that had ever been before was, somehow, different – I swear, every singe blade of grass was calling for her attention. Soon she was smiling while saturated from the tall, wet grass.
What astounded me was the wildlife that emerged. The air was filled with a chorus of birdsongs – there is no question in my mind that the acorn woodpeckers are by far the noisiest with their raucous, raspy chatter. Quail darted all around in their haphazard way. Whole coveys quickly scurried out of the underbrush and noisily disappeared when the sentry male trilled that their domain was being interrupted (by me). I had a cottontail bunny dash over my foot as I took an unobservant step. And when we got to the big open meadow, a deer and her two fawns were grazing, completely unaware of Rainie’s and my presence. The picture was breathtaking with their grace and solitude.
From Rainie’s perspective, I don’t think she could have cared less! Along with everything else that was going on, the gophers were out too. And as much as the bushes needed to be inspected, so did the gopher holes. She kept running from mound to mound, sniffing and occasionally taking a moment to dig … until she found the one that required further exploration. She began digging so fast that the dirt flew up behind her. Occasionally she would rise from her should-deep hole to check to see that I was still near, then her hunt would continue. A few moments later when I was not paying attention while watching a couple of hawks circle overhead, I felt a very wet nose nudge my hand. I looked down to find a very happy Rainie looking up at me with a mud caked nose. She was sitting up on her back haunches, alerting me. I was completely unaware that my blood sugar was dropping.
As we walked towards the car, glucose in my mouth, I looked over my shoulder just in time to see an owl swoop down and grab a gopher from the area where Rainie had been digging.