God's Gift of Rain: A Poem

What Rain Does

The dry riverbed waits for the rainy season to begin.
The dry riverbed waits for the rainy season to begin. | Source
When the rains have fallen, the river flows again, flooding the small plants growing in the river bed and surrounding what are now islands again.
When the rains have fallen, the river flows again, flooding the small plants growing in the river bed and surrounding what are now islands again. | Source
The shore remembers how the river water trespassed on it last year.
The shore remembers how the river water trespassed on it last year. | Source
The trees and grasses near the river wait for rain to refresh them.
The trees and grasses near the river wait for rain to refresh them. | Source

God's Gift of Rain

Rain is contentment slipping from the sky,

A minstrel coaxing me to sleep.

It pours itself into the sun-dried earth

Which gratefully receives it.

Waking up the drowsy vegetables

Which languish in the sun.


The river, too, is waiting for the rain

To resurrect it. Islands in the sand

Yearn for the return of flowing water.

But the tiny plants know their end is near,

For they will drown as rain comes down.


The shore awaits its turn

to meet the river's current

and wonders if again this year

a flood will trespass

onto its domain of foliage


The trees stand patient.

They suffer less than their small cousins

Whose thirsty roots cannot extend

To reach the water far beneath the bed

From which the trees are fed.


The drought is over.

Earth again is green

As rain distills its blessings on

Contented sod, and grateful people

Offer praise to God.

Into the Dry Season

Grasslands at Lawrence Moore Park in Paso Robles on June 19, about two months after the last rains.
Grasslands at Lawrence Moore Park in Paso Robles on June 19, about two months after the last rains. | Source

After the Rain

After the rain, the grass is green again.
After the rain, the grass is green again. | Source

Unwatered Lawn in July in Paso Robles

This is how one lawn looked in the middle of summer when water was being rationed in Paso Robles in 2011. Many lawns were almost completely brown.
This is how one lawn looked in the middle of summer when water was being rationed in Paso Robles in 2011. Many lawns were almost completely brown. | Source

Rain and Drought in North San Luis Obispo County

North San Luis Obispo County where I live often has dry years. Sometimes they are so dry the city of Paso Robles rations water for landscaping and lawns begin to get brown. Homeowners with lawns hope the rains will come early so their yards will look green again.

Even the parks often go without irrigation. Lawrence Moore Park, where these pictures were taken, is only partially irrigated. There is drip irrigation for some of the native plants the city planted, but most of the grasslands go unirrigated. As you can see in the picture, even by June, after only a couple of months without rain, they go from green to brown, and they remain brown until until the rains begin again in fall or winter, depending upon whether it's a drought year.

The trees in the park have long roots which extend into the underground river that is invisible in summer, so they survive. Trees in the park include cottonwood, willow, oak, and sycamore. The weeds that had flourished after the rains in winter and early spring die during the summer and autumn when they've had no falling rain to water them.

During the summer it can get very hot in Paso Robles. Often it will be triple digits for days a time, so during water rationing, not only lawns, but other parts of the landscaping will suffer. Vegetables which can be watered weekly in normal weather might need daily watering during very hot weeks, especially those grown in containers, as most of mine were last year.

The river, of course, suffers most of all in summer. By July or August, it normally becomes invisible. You can see the difference in my hub, The Seasons of the Salinas River. During summer, instead of water in the Salinas River, you are likely to find people walking their dogs. There is one far channel of the river closest to the west bank that retains water longer than the rest, and you often will not realize it's there unless you completely walk across the rest of the river bed from the park side to check on it. The picture below shows how the river looked by June 19, 2011. There is only a trickle of water left in another small channel, but that doesn't show in this picture.

After the rains begin in autumn or winter, people begin to check to see if water is visible in the riverbed. It's normally there by January or February after we've had a lot of rain. But we've had early rains in this fall of 2011, and I will probably check this afternoon if I have time to see if water has returned to the river yet as we near Thanksgiving.

The Salinas Riverbed on June 19, 2011

The Salinas riverbed is almost entirely dry two months after the last rain. This picture was taken on June 19, 2011.
The Salinas riverbed is almost entirely dry two months after the last rain. This picture was taken on June 19, 2011. | Source

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Comments 9 comments

Ania L profile image

Ania L 5 years ago from United Kingdom

It's amazing how quickly things can get green again in dry areas like deserts. Like they knew they have only few hours to live.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

That's true. I haven't thought of it that way, but I don't think of my area as a desert, either. We do have about six months that things can remain green here without man-made irrigation most years.


Ivona Poyntz profile image

Ivona Poyntz 5 years ago from UK

The cycle of life: through the medium of water: your poem is such a poignant reminder of why we need to cherish our resources and appreciate the bounty of even one drop of water


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Water is one of those resources you don't know how much you value unless you lack it. We take it for granted unless our wells threaten to go dry or a disaster stops our supply. We can't just go make more if it if there's no rain. Thank you for commenting.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Yes, the cycle of life and nature go on and never consider mankind. As always your photos are gorgeous and your poem just lovely and well written.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Hyphenbird, thank you. We humans are privileged to observe and benefit from these cycles of life, and see the beauty they produce.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Barb - Great poem about one of my favorite things - rain. Love your line about the minstrel coaxing you to sleep. It is a rainy day here today and I'm thinking going to sleep is sounding pretty lovely about now. Unfortunately if I end up with my face on my computer screen, I'm going to get into trouble so guess I'd best be waiting until after work and after the dog walk~ Maybe I could catch a few Z's while they pull me down the road. Your poem is conjuring up lovely rainy down sleep fantasies in my head~~


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 5 years ago from Australia

Oh the sound of rain after weeks, months, years of dry. Drought devastates a nation, crops die, livestock die, then comes the rain - just as you have described so accurately. I know these changes well. Some people complain of rain. I can never.

I understand and appreciate your words WBW, thank you for sharing, my votes to you.


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

Fennelseed, we are fortunate not to have gone years without rain, but we've had a few years of not enough rain to meet all needs. Water is something we take for granted unless you think your well may be running dry. Thanks for your comment.

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