The calm after the storm

After several weeks of mostly rainy, dreary days, glorious sunshine has followed to dry out the ground and soggy spirits. I’ve had a hard time staying inside, choosing instead to take long walks with the dog, even though the walks still mean muddy shoes and paws to clean up afterward.

What I’ve noticed most the last two mornings is the return of the birds. Their happy whistles sing a song my soul understands.

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Western Scrub-Jays, happy in the morning sun

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A closed boat launch

The river remains closed to boating, but despite its muddy rushing, ducks and wading birds have ventured back into it in search of home and food. Their grace and beauty is a welcome addition to the banks of the river.

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A heron listens, aware of my presence.

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An egret with friends

Most of my regular trails—while dotted with puddles—are mostly undamaged from the storm. Others are completely under water and look as though they will be for some time.

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There’s a trail through here but not one I’d want to take right now.

A trail at one of the parks I visit infrequently has broken off, washed apart in the deluge. I don’t know if park staff will try to rebuild this trail or close it.

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A broken trail

The storm took down trees, too.

With such a fierce drought for the last several years, some already-dead trees couldn’t withstand the soaking rain and winds of recent storms. Crews wasted no time chopping this one into manageable pieces:

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A tree lost in the storm

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Scattered branches

This was the fourth wettest January in recorded history for this region, rain we very much needed. Perhaps just us much, we need these dry days after the soaking rain, these blue skies and the shining sun.

At least, I do. I didn’t even realize how much I needed the solace of a long walk, the light, the birdsong, the weight of my camera in my hands, and a contented dog at my side. It is the perfect calm after the storm.

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