The title for this post is the same as a that of a classic book by Mary Austin about her life in the Owens Valley. While there is little doubt that deserts can be starkly beautiful—as for instance Death Valley or the National Parks of Southern Utah—it can be frustrating to have forecast rain turn into little more than a dirty drizzle.
I call it a dirty drizzle because there’s only enough rain to smear my windshield when I run my wipers. As my windshield wiper reservoir is leaking and its replacement costs a small fortune for my twenty-year-old Nissan Pathfinder, I spend a good part of .L.A.’s so-called rainy season driving around looking through a coating of dirt.
I have no faith in weather forecasters. Why? Because they are only intent on selling advertising. Therefore, they tend to wildly exaggerate any rain forecast. Even if there’s so much as a 10% chance of showers, newsmen will spend hours telling us to look for the forecast in the next fifteen minutes, er…, half hour, er… hour. What usually happens, the mountains to the north of us get the rain, or the deserts beyond the mountains. What we get, at most, is a pittance.
People in the Northeast must be looking at us with ill-suppressed envy, as they struggle with snow and cold and “polar vortexes,” whatever those are. In the meantime, we continue to dry out. Our state’s agriculture, once the envy of the nation, is looking at a potential dust bowl.