Other places spread their rain out through the whole year, but California binges its rain into a few months called Mom-Says-It-Had-Better-Stop-Soon-Or-Else season, or “mom-soon season” for short. Every year the mom-soon season overstays its welcome, and when we complain about all the rain and ruined hikes, dimwits who never play outside and get all their weather information from the internet say, “But we need the rain! It’s a drought.” These people have never had to make the decision whether to go out to go potty on a cold, rainy night, or just hold it until spring. I want to tell them to get woke, that drought is so 2016, and all the trend setters know that the new thing you’re supposed to worry about is sandslides and your wooden trail bridge falling off of a cliff because of soil erosion. What’s trending in 2019 is that rain ruins everything.
It’s not just the people who are outdated, the sky needs a makeover too. For the past several weeks, The Internet has said that the rain is done for the year, but nearly every day, more of last season’s rain has blown through and dumped its overstock on us like we’re a Ross Dress for Less.
The other night Mom and I slept in the Covered Wagon listening to the latest shipment of the last rain of the year pouring itself out on the roof. Then, when we woke up in the morning, the last rain of the year was still pitter-pattering on the roof like it intended to stay awhile yet.
“When is it going to stop raining?” Mom asked The Witch that Lives in Her Phone.
“It is not raining right now,” said The Witch.
“Yes it is,” said the Covered Wagon, whose face was getting wet just as fast as the wipers could smear the rain out of our eyes.
Mom looked at the detailed forecast, which said that it wasn’t raining now, and it wasn’t going to be raining in 15 minutes, or an hour, or even for the rest of the day or the week, and maybe for the rest of our lives. Then she looked at the rain map to see where the clouds were. Exasperated, the rain map said, ‘Like I said, there are no clouds. The rain has been over for the year for weeks.’
I was beginning to see where all of these drought rumors were coming from.
Since Mom believes everything that The Witch says, and The Witch said it wasn’t raining, she opened the Wagon door and hopped out to hike in the draught. As we hiked through the dark, the draught soaked me from all directions. It flowed down the trail like a river and slopped with my paws. It splashed off of the tall grass into my fur when I chased bunnies. And of course the draught fell from the sky and soaked through the fur on my head and back, and turned me into a seal-pup.
Because of the clouds that the Internet said were fake, it was very dark for most of our walk. By the time enough daylight to see by oozed into the sky, we were over 1000 feet above the ocean, and standing in the middle of a not-cloud that made everything look like a ghost. The air fluffed and wafted purposefully by, like poltergeist rush hour, and everything looked fuzzy, stripey and wobbly like a VHS tape. But if I kept my eyes real close to the ground, every once in awhile there would be a crack in the mountain and I could peek down it and see the tiny little buildings in high definition huddling close to the ocean down below.
When California is in transition, sometimes it mixes up its senses and you can feel colors, or smell the light. One of those changes is when the mom-soon season is trying to end, and the greenness billows out of things and rides the air like the whole world and everything in it is tinted green. Then, a stray bit of sunlight sneaks in from the summer, catches the green and turns it on like electricity. Another one of California’s changes is when night is turning into day, and you can see the sun walking to work along the mountains on its way to the sky. No matter what time of year it is, the sun commute is like a good Instagram filter that takes all the colors and turns up the saturation, and then catches the edges of things and makes them even sharper. By the time most people have come out to see the world through their windshields, the sun is at his desk already, and so they don’t get to see how the magic transition light makes the world as beautiful as the make-believe on Instagram for a few minutes every day.
As we galumphed down the hill back to the Covered Wagon, the poltergeists blew away and the Instagram sun made the moment-before-spring green beam. I didn’t want to leave my adventure out in the rain where no one would notice it, so carried as much mud and draught with me into the Covered Wagon as I could, so that I could save the feeling for a little longer. By the time Mom and I got to the office, the sun was dull with routine again, and the clouds made everything grey like nothing you would ever post on Instagram. I ran around the office greeting my collies and telling them all about how, “Doggo hiked in imaginary rain! Doggo see poltergeists in mountains!” And each one of my collies smiled and gave me pats to tell me what a good boy I am. The second they touched my lustrous fur, they faces squished up like someone had made their latte with nonorganic skim milk by mistake.
“He’s all wet,” they said.
“There’s a drought. We need the rain,” I pointed out, angling by butt for better scratching.
Later that afternoon, Mom and I walked to Starbucks and my collie told us about how she had gone out to dinner the night before and had gone dancing. “I don’t know how anyone finds the time to have a life after work,” Mom said. “If I don’t go to bed by 9, I’m useless.”
“I think you’re spending too much time on your phone,” my collie suggested. “Maybe you should delete social media.”
But that was a silly idea. If Mom deleted my social media, then I would have no way to prove that I have a life too. I just don’t have witnesses.
Oscar the Draught Dog