2006-09-29 10:08:15.000 – Neil Lareau,  Observer


The hood of a water proof jacket is a surprisingly good meteorological instrument. Specifically, it could be called an auditory precipitation discriminator. Stepping out of the tower and into the aqueous soup, the belly of a cloud, the patter of rain echoed within the hooded shell of my jacket. LL. Bean, your clothes are good, but did you know they were scientific? The sound told me that the rain droplets were substantially larger and more widely spaced than they had been an hour ago, when minute rain droplets fell in the company of a fine drizzle. At that time the sound was nearly a hiss caused by the hundreds of tiny collisions. When it sleets, there is an obvious ping, when it snows, a muffled thump. I dutifully recorded the change in precipitation, and yes, I stayed dry in the process.

I never thought I would like rain quite as much as I do today. Having spent the past two weeks hiking around in the dusty, dry, and sun bleached Sierra Nevada my perspective is different than it would have been. There the sky was uninterrupted blue and rain a seemingly foreign notion. The ground, where there was soil at all, was desiccated and unconsolidated, easily becoming air borne, invading your nostrils and the corners of your eyes. We played soccer one evening on a “field;” there were times you could hardly see the ball through the cloud of dust. So today, as I stand in fog being pelted by rain it feels refreshing and novel.

Still all that sun out there sure was nice. Not to mention the mountains.


Neil Lareau,  Observer

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