Tag Archives: drought

Drip Drop: SOL23 Day 15

Rainy days…for the last two years they have been few and far between. We had around 4 inches of total rainfall followed by 6 inches. This year we are already at nearly 10 inches (our seasonal average before the drought parched the state), and it’s early in the rainfall season.

I appreciate the need for rainfall, but as a teacher, I don’t love a rainy school day. Our school is ill prepared for rain. There are no pathways from the classroom to anywhere else on campus (including the bathrooms and the lunch serving area) that are totally covered. You WILL get wet if rain is falling. And since students eat outdoors (we have picnic tables under an awning), when it rains, it means they eat in our classrooms.

California has been plagued (blessed?) with lots of atmospheric rivers this season, bringing A LOT of rain. And I know I shouldn’t be complaining–we are getting rain AND we haven’t had the kind of devastation that other areas have been experiencing.

But as the rain drip dropped this morning I tried to make the best of things. Since students arrived directly to classrooms, I got those last few kiddos’ assessments completed while things were still quiet. When I learned that two of our reading teachers were out today (I knew about one yesterday–got the call about the other experiencing flooding in her home this morning, yucky for her!), I figured I could get some one-on-one reading time squeezed in. Drip by drop, I ended up reading with 20 of my 22 students today!

And the good news?!? The rain is done for now, we are looking at clear skies until the middle of next week. Hopefully we can dry out, get outside (for eating and for exercise), and return to a more typical schedule.

While the persistent drought we’ve been experiencing isn’t over, this over the top rainfall is helping to alleviate some of the pressure. And the plants are loving it, lapping up each drip and drop.

Rain soaked dandelion puff

Chasing a Snail: NPM22 Day 1

It’s April! And it’s the first day of National Poetry Month. I don’t profess to be a great poet–but I am able to share my love of words and poetry with my students–especially when I do the things I ask them to do.

So even though this is not a teaching day for me and even though Spring Break begins tomorrow and I won’t see my students until April 11th, I will write a poem each day. I know that I will be better able to coach and guide them if I am doing the poetry writing I want them to try.

I plan to use Eve Merriam’s Peeling an Orange with them when we get back to school after Spring Break, so why not experiment with it as a mentor text today? One of the techniques I notice in this poem is her use of the contrasting words carelessly and meticulously. So, since photos tend to inspire my writing, I took a peek through my camera roll and spotted this one of a snail from a neighborhood walk earlier this week. And here is the poem it inspired:

Chasing a Snail


all feet and shadow

risking the horrifying crunch

or moving in slowly

my phone a wall

as the telescoping antennae

stretch and reach

each centimeter forward

marked with a telltale spot

of drying slime

like invisible ink

in a race against

time and dryness

California Poppies: SOLC 2019 Day 11

The golden poppy is California’s state flower.  We often see this cheery orange flower growing along the side of the freeway, in roadside medians, and in the landscaping of public buildings.  It’s both delicate and hearty.


As a California native, I’ve seen these poppies my whole life, but I’ve never seen them like I did over the weekend.  Drought has become a way of life in southern California where I live.  Our average rainfall is only 10 inches per year, so those years when the rainfall falls well below (I know we’ve had recent years with only 5 inches–for the entire year!) are devastating for plants and animals (and humans too)!  This year we are already well above average for rainfall, and the season doesn’t end for a few more months.  That means our landscape is greener than usual…and flowers are everywhere!

On our way home from Saturday’s adventures (you can read more about those here and here), we decided we would stop by to get a glimpse of some poppy fields at the peak of their blossom.  As we headed back from the desert, we swung through a part of Riverside county called Lake Elsinore.  Even before we got to our destination, we could see hillsides in full bloom!


We weren’t the only people who wanted to see these beauties, traffic snarled as we got close.  We saw the highway patrol ticketing cars that folks had parked on the shoulder of the freeway to try to circumvent the traffic to photograph poppies!

Our patience paid off with the opportunity for some close up views of these massive fields of poppies.  Unfortunately, we were late in the day as the sun was dipping below the clouds and the temperatures were dropping, so many blossoms were beginning to wrap up tight for the night.



In spite of the challenges, I enjoyed my poppy experience.  I’ve been noticing more poppies in my own community as well.  I passed several small patched of poppies along the roadside on my way home from work today.  And I’ve seen many people I know posting pictures of poppies…from Lake Elsinore and many other hillsides around the state!  They are beautiful…and a cheery indicator of a wet winter and spring’s arrival.

Water on the Brain

Water: beautiful, powerful, moving, treacherous, life-giving, flowing through our veins, through earth’s veins, taken for granted, precious, tenuous, unpredictable, limited, overflowing…

I feel like I have water on the brain.  I woke this morning to images of water flowing–a water main break in Los Angeles had me gasping at the waste of a precious resource.  Our drought in Southern California–in CA as a whole (and other western states)–is so severe that I feel the constant of thirst, in my throat, in my heart, for our plants and animals, for our people. Reservoirs and lakes have shrunken to show thick exposed shorelines, creeks are but a distant memory of a trickle.  And the flooding in Colorado has me wishing we could share in this bounty rather than experience the extremes of water.

Floods, like their cousins wildfires, remind us that there is much we do not and cannot control.

I spent time today on the banks of the Clark Fork River in Missoula, MT learning and thinking about the indigenous stories of this place.  The beauty of the river masks its troubled history and ancient lineage.  Indigenous and scientific knowledge swim in these waters that tourists may see as a playground, a place for floating on inner tubes and cooling off in the 90 degree temperatures.


Inspired by the water, I wrote with others as part of a mini writing marathon at our Intersections meeting today.  The writing was rich and layered with stories of experiences with water…or no water.  And changing the lens…through the indigenous stories and science…prompted our memories and connections, letting the stories pour like the water itself.

Like water, there is power in writing.  Power to connect, to heal, to think and reflect.  We sometimes forget that writing in unexpected places, creates new urgency and agency for our writing.  So go outside, find a place by a river, on the curb, under a tree, or even sit on the car bumper and see what writing comes when you change your lens.

Undulating Clouds

As I commute to and from work I hear the radio reports of the polar vortex and the frigid temperatures in the midwest and eastern parts of our country.  Cautions of frostbite in ten minutes to exposed skin.  Wind chills and snow and ice…

And yet here the weather is unseasonably warm.  We’ve mostly forgotten where we put our jackets, and shorts and flip flops are back to being a common sight in the community.  And the worry is rising too.  The last day we had any measurable precipitation was December 19th…more than a month ago…and this is our “rainy season.”  (As much of a rainy season as you get in a place with annual rainfall of less than 10 inches.)  Drought has risen above a whisper and we are remembering the horrors of wildfires and water restrictions, not to mention the hardships on farmers and the agricultural community.

But yesterday I had the opportunity to share my latest find with my husband and we drove to Double Peak Park, not too far from home, and looked out over the county.

Clouds swirled and churned, creating undulating patterns in the sky.  It seemed that we could see rain falling in the distance…high in the sky…never reaching the ground.  We wished and hoped for rain that never did materialize.


It remained cloudy today, and the clouds gathered and churned in great gray billows in the theatre of tonight’s sunset.  But still we have no rain.  The forecasters are pointing to Friday for rain, but the percentage chances seem low and it wouldn’t be the first time that forecasted rain was canceled as we come closer to that day.

So I’m hoping for some milder temps for friends in the midwest and east…and I have my fingers crossed that we get some much needed rain here.  A bit every day would be ideal–our roads and buildings don’t handle large amounts well.  I’m sure my students would love to search under their beds for the forgotten rain boots, scour the garage for the misplaced umbrella…they might even locate that jacket shoved deep in the hall closet.  And I’ll even silence my complaints about the dreaded rainy day schedule at school and the mess of the indoor lunch–the rain will be worth it.

Think some rainy, wet thoughts for us!