It’s Season Shift Change in California. The long season is punching out, and the short season is punching in. Put your hands down, all you CA people who live in the mountains! We know you have four seasons. We visit your snow. (It’s charming, btw, very pastoral.)
My personal nicknames for our seasons:
- The Lovely Season
- The Ew Season
Our area has just received a shot across the bow: it Rained.
(Note to rest of country: please bear with me.)
Panic ensues. Ringtones go crazy on mobile phones in the grocery store, at the gas station, in the library. Loud snatches of conversation drift about: “Go LOOK!”, “Yes. Really. No I mean it.”, “Did you SEE that lightening?”, “I had to turn on the heater!”
(Note to rest of country: Stop Laughing! Right Now!)
The first rain always causes problems. It’s been so long since the last rain, that while we remember rain in theory, we kinda forget Rain Happens.
Christmas, who happily snoozed his way through hundreds of rainstorms last winter, had a complete meltdown: he raced in and out of the house, trying to figure out the threat. What is that noise? I Must Save The Family! I can’t find the source of the noise…WAKE UP EVERYONE…MAYDAY…MAYDAY! I growled at it and it didn’t leave. Oh…ew. (Pause) Ew…ew…ew…ew…EW. My feet are wet. Geeze, what idiot watered the plants on the patio in the middle of the night?”
Uh-huh. Now. Take Christmas’ reaction, and apply it to a California horse. While there are some stoic old souls who look up, sigh, and think: did they HAVE to extend the sprinkler system to my stall roof? The majority of horses react one of two ways:
- Utter panic, including wild eyed racing around (Ahhhhhhh….we’re all gonna DIE.), or
- Ew ew ew ew EW (THIS is completely unacceptable. I am not moving a hoof. Totally unreasonable to ask me to work in this racket. Is that…WATER coming from the sky? I vaguely remember something like this years ago, when I was a foal…” )
Boarding in a barn, generally you have all three reactions at the same time. Especially if the barn has a tin roof. The Sighers, if they are hunter/jumpers, look pleadingly at you for their ear pom-poms and winter sheet. The We-Are-Going-To-Die gang whirl, rear, or fling themselves against the walls of their stalls, or if outside, race around their paddocks and pasture in a primal panic. The Oh-This-Is-COMPLETELY-Disgusting crew shake their coats like wet dogs, try to find a dry corner to wedge themselves into, and dare you to halter them.
Just last Thursday, I went to watch the girls at roping practice, on a day when it was 105. A few days later the temperatures dropped to around 100. I went swimming at 4 pm under clear skies, and burning sun: 99 degrees. Six hours later, it’s 40 degrees out and raining?
It’s only September. We usually get eased into the idea of water dripping from the skies. Beginning in October, a few sprinkles here, a few sprinkles there, maybe a cloud. What is UP with a full on thunder and lightening rain storm? I’m telling you. Global Warming.
Then there are the things we’ve forgotten about The Ew Season over the last 9 months:
Dog walking: if it’s not currently raining, not to worry, can walk dog without mess. Unless dog has low rider fur. Yup, I let him right back in the house, no towel. The floor, the walls, the rug, the throws, the pillows, the children, the fridge, the ottoman slip cover: filthy. Riiiiiiight. Dogs swipe themselves dry if you don’t blow dry them. I remember now. The same 30 minute walk we’ve done for 9 months? Chalk one up for drudgery.
Cars: Dang it, which thingy turns on the windshield wipers again? You see a lot of turn signals going off while driving down the freeway, as people try to remember where their windshield wiper controls are. I hate driving on the first day of real rain. During the Lovely Season, all the exhaust, oil, whatever that gunk is, stores in its evil dehydrated form on the asphalt. The first rains of the Ew Season spring it back into slickness. It’s not difficult to drive: you lower your speed. It’s difficult to be around other drivers who’ve forgotten that car gunk rehydrates.
Barns: Not enough rain for mud (yet), juuuuuuust enough to make your body surface evenly damp: turning you into nifty sponge wipe; you attract hairs, flies, dirt, hay bits and dust. Oh well, it’s just your jacket. Okay, maybe the pants too. What is that on my face?!? Well, at least I don’t have to bother leaving my shoes at the back door. Nope. However, the half inch of grit that invisibly adhered itself to my footwear is now evenly distributed throughout the house, because it’s not muddy enough to take my shoes off.
For Californians, be careful out there. For the rest of the country, who didn’t forget what you’re in for, remember the safety warning! Staying out of jail is good.