Posted by: Casey Lybrand | May 30, 2010

Beautiful El Niño

I noticed this year how beautiful the landscape can be in an El Niño spring. I was out and about yesterday in the Bay Area, and the variation and lushness of the spring growth was breathtaking.

I did not have the chance to take any pictures, but here are some from flickr users Jill Clardy and pressuretobear, to show the difference between May of last year and this year:

Photos of Coyote Hills Regional Park [1]

May 2009:

Coyote Hills Regional Park by pressuretobear on flickr

Coyote Hills Regional Park by pressuretobear on flickr

Marshes in Spring by Jill Clardy on flickr

Marshes in Spring by Jill Clardy on flickr

May 2010:

Coyote Hills Regional Park by Jill Clardy on flickr

Coyote Hills Regional Park by Jill Clardy on flickr

Thru the Reeds by Jill Clardy on flickr

Thru the Reeds by Jill Clardy on flickr

Spring Marshes by Jill Clardy on flickr

Spring Marshes by Jill Clardy on flickr

See the difference?  I’m not sure I could have when I first moved to Northern California. [2]

I moved to Northern California during an El Niño year from a part of the United States that has rain year round. The tenor of complaints about a little bit of rain in May or June seemed off to me.  So what I noticed was the complaints.

The argument against the rain seemed to go like this: as we Californians put up with more road congestion and higher real estate prices, surely, than anyone else; and as we live with the constant threat of earthquakes; then we do deserve to expect glorious weather for most of the year.

I’m pretty sure I read this explanation in a commentary that was: a) in a Bay Area newspaper, and more importantly: b) gently mocking the attitude it described. There was a ring of truth to it, though.

This time around with El Niño, I have not noticed much complaining at all. That could be because I am accustomed to the idea that Californians complain about rain in May, so I notice it less. Or it could be because I do not watch the TV news or listen to the radio, which I did before, and the media hype about weather complaints does not match the reality of what people are actually talking about. [3] It’s probably a combination of the two.

What I have noticed is just how lovely El Niño can be. [4]

ETA June 9, 2010: When my daughter read this, she suggested I check my privilege. So I need to think, and read, and think some more, and write. Expect an update on this topic within a week or so. /ETA

1: These photos are not from the part of the Bay Area where I was this weekend, nor, clearly, are they my photos. As the captions state, they are by Jill Clardy and pressuretobear, and they are used with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. I had no photos of my own to show the differences in the landscape between last year and this year, so I was very happy to find these photos with CC licenses on flickr. Thank you, flickr! I forgive you for talking to me in Lolspeak.

2: Part of noticing how green it is this time of year compared to other years involves acclimating to the seasonal variations in the vegetation in this part of the world. A rainy-season-dry-season region looks very different throughout the year from a four-seasons region. Spending too much time away from California made me forget that.

3: It’s true that I did not know many people in California, yet, during that El Niño year — maybe actual people were complaining less than the TV machine was.

4: Also, footnotes FTW! That is all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: