One extreme after another

Maybe it is best described through the lyrics of Conway Twitty and Sam Moore. Perhaps we can relate even more so to Tina Turner’s feelings on the subject. Should we venture even farther to the deep side of Jim Morrison and his classic especially with the opening prelude? Maybe this phenomenon described by Prince as “purple” will open the door to my subject.


If you’re still struggling with where I am headed, maybe a few hints could help give a direction. B.J. Thomas has it falling on his head and Elvis drives through it in Kentucky. Karen Carpenter fully expresses her feelings about it and compound the subject with Monday’s and you’ll understand why she was always feeling “down.” By now you are probably in tune, no pun intended with the analogies, on the topic at hand. If not, here’s the Coup de grace to leave you no doubt. It fell for 40 days and 40 nights and how fitting that bluesman “Muddy Waters” wrote this classic over 60 years ago. Ahhhh, Rain it is.


Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from the atmosphere and then becomes heavy enough to fall under gravity. It is the major component of the water cycle and is the main source for fresh water on the earth. Rain is vital for plant life and our own existence as well. So let’s look at where rain really comes from, other than the sky.


Frontal activity is a major causation of rainfall. When cool air and warm air collide, moisture can occur aloft. What separates rainfall from other forms of precipitation, such as sleet, hail, or snow, is the presence of a layer of air aloft which is above or below the melting point of water, which either melts or doesn’t before it reaches the ground. Convection, as we know it from the building of thunderheads in warmer times of the year, causes rainfall by warm air rising. As it cools at higher atmospheres, water droplets form from condensation and these droplets fall to the earth in the form of rain.


Rainfall amounts vary greatly across our planet. With an average rainfall of over 450 inches per year, Cherrapungi, India takes first place for the wettest place on Earth. Remarkably, the highest yearly rainfall amount exceeded 905 inches in 1861. Other locations with extremely heavy rainfall include locales in Australia, Hawaii, and Colombia with yearly amounts averaging over 400 hundred inches per year. And we thought we have been wet lately. Well, for our environmental conditions we really have had unseasonably high amounts of rainfall. Have you wondered why?


I did a fair amount of reading on this subject and after hours of pondering the only definitive conclusion I can come up with to explain our recent saturated conditions is it is purely cyclical. For decades and centuries and even longer, rainfall amounts vary over time. I can’t recall a winter with as many soggy days as the one we are experiencing now. The woods and fields that I frequent so often are a pure quagmire. Turn rows and logging roads are rutted almost to the point of ruination. Boots are pulled to the point of coming off with every step. Every critter in the woods is alerted to our presence by the vacuum created between soil and water as we trudge through the swamp. Many days I just shake my head in disgust. I can’t even venture into my own backyard to supply my squirrels and songbirds with safflower and berries without almost bogging down to the hip. I have heard of lake dams being blown out. Culverts have washed out and I’m sure you have voiced out loud, your thoughts about the mecca of newly formed potholes in all of quaint boulevards. Like I said, I can’t recall a season like it.


As wet as it is, remember these few thoughts. The only thing that remains the same is that nothing remains the same. One extreme always follows another. I laugh at some of the comments I have heard over the years. I once asked a cotton grower, during a lengthy wet spell, if he thought it would ever stop raining. Barely audible, he replied in his southern drawl, “it always has.” I couldn’t help but chuckle at the time. I recall years ago, a speaker that was addressing a group regarding drainage, flooding, channelization, etc. Everyone erupted in laughter as the moderator cautioned the speaker before he began that there was a fellow in the audience named “Noah” that may have an opinion on flooding. I still laugh at that today.


If the rain has kept you indoors more than you would have liked, look on the brighter side of things. Look at the number of bucks that will make it to next season due to you not hunting in the rain. Look at the benefit that will be realized from re-charged soil profiles which will help plant life, mast production, and agriculture in the coming growing season. It will be interesting to see if we remember these conditions in July and August when we are watering our lawns and gardens. I assure you dryer times will be here before you know it. It’s almost comical how we forget. For now though, keep your rain suits and umbrellas close for there is rain in the forecast later this week. Keep your powder dry.


Until next time enjoy our woods and waters and remember let’s leave it better than we found it.



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