“Everything is blooming recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of night.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Rain … I waited last weekend for its arrival after the National Weather Service predicted a 100% chance on Easter Sunday. Church and Easter egg hunts were long over when the first drops fell.
The initial report came from my husband mid-afternoon as he called from a bike ride along the L.A. Riverwalk.
“Hi! I am soaked.”
I replied, “Are you okay? Did you fall into the river?”
“Of course not! It is raining pretty good down here. Just thought you would want to know. See you soon.”
When all was said and done, the “Easter Storm of 2013” dumped only .10 of an inch of rain in the foothills. The season total thus far stands at a meager 10.78 inches. Not great when you consider our annual rainfall average is around 24 inches. We desperately need “April showers!”
Have you noticed the yellow pollen and other “tree stuff” on every surface outdoors? Oak trees seem to be the primary source. This can be expected during the spring months. However, this year the amount seems excessive. Keeping the patio, outdoor furniture, cars and the pool clean is not possible.
I questioned, “What’s behind the oak trees raining down this mess?” Must be weather related … isn’t everything? Maybe. With rainfall totals below average for two consecutive years, there might be some connection.
Botanists and arborists revealed the answer. It seems drought conditions put stress on oak trees, which lead to a surplus of pollen. Oaks feel threatened by lack of water and their response is to make more baby oak trees, hence survival. The pollen output is the tree actually “gasping for life.”
The oaks pollinate from long flower clusters, called catkins. These dangle from branches until the wind blows, sending them flying for miles. Despite the mess and allergies these cause, think of the good. Come fall, the acorn crop will have squirrels chattering with joy. Also, the oak trees’ future is assured. Benefits all!
Cooler temperatures with a very slight chance for rain is expected Thursday and over the weekend. Once again, come Tuesday a warming trend along with clearer skies move in.
We can’t do much about the lack of rain except enjoy the weather!
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.