~ May the sun shine warm upon your face ;
The rains fall soft upon your fields … ~
– Irish Blessing
No mistaking our hillsides for those of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day. I suppose Leprechaun sightings are also out of the question. Winter rains are usually sufficient in encouraging the seeds of native grasses and plants to germinate and thrive. Rain equals green. In previous years the Crescenta Valley foothills have been blanketed in lush green. Now, upon close observation, the color is mostly lost in the chaparral.
This year’s storms have been on the weak side and rather fleeting in nature. Precipitation totals are at less than half their normal…so far. We squeezed a little over an inch out of last week’s storm clouds. Season’s rainfall is at 10.68 inches. “April showers …bring May flowers.” I don’t think the old rhyme applies to our location. Rain is always a possibility but typically, come April, the bulk of wet weather is over. Umbrellas have begun their annual disappearing act. Where? Ask almost anyone the exact location of their umbrella. No one really knows…
With St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, I turn to my closet (not the hills) to find green. When I was at Valley View Elementary, forgetting to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day was right in there with forgetting your lunch or homework. In desperation, a leaf could be pulled from a plant on the way to school. But this was done by boys only. A sympathetic teacher had an art project ready – green construction paper for shamrock cutouts that could then be pinned on your clothing.
Forget to wear green? Prepare to be pinched. Supposedly, wearing green makes one invisible to the mischievous leprechauns. If not in green, one could become an easy target and be pinched. So the tradition became people would pinch each other (if not wearing green) as a reminder of what may befall them in the hands of a leprechaun.
With origins in Ireland, Americans have celebrated St. Patrick’s day since the early 1700s. Today, St Patrick’s Day is a transcontinental celebration of Irish culture, replete with festive foods including corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, Irish soda bread and a beer. Let’s not forget McDonald’s trademarked Shamrock Shake. Many cities have parades and the Chicago River is dyed green to honor the day. Any reason for a bit o’ fun!
Days reached into the 80s this week. Perfect timing with the coming together of daylight savings time and warmer weather. Over the weekend, cooling is expected as temperatures drop 10-15 degrees. Rain for Tuesday and Wednesday is possible – 10% chance. Still too early for a more accurate forecast, so don’t let that umbrella out of your sight…yet!
Our dog Abby recognizes the subtle change in seasons as her nightly ritual returns once again. As we finish dinner, she sits patiently looking at first her leash and then to the door. She knows, a spring soon-to-be summer evening walk awaits, just beyond the door.
We happily go along.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at