Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Singing the deluge blues

A few years ago a newly hired colleague asked, "Does it rain in Marietta all the time?"

"No," I said. "Only when you're here."

Sad but true. That poor guy--he came from out of state and taught for us during a highly unusual year year in which we endured two hundred-year floods three months apart. He lived in a lovely house that was usually located near the river and only occasionally in the river. He was here just one year, but I'm sure he tells all his friends that it always rains in southeastern Ohio.

This winter feels like a replay of that wet season. Today we're under a tornado watch and a flash flood advisory, but I took advantage of the one brief hour of sunshine between downpours to visit the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge and see what I could see.

The answer is: not much. It was the wrong time of day and the wrong season of the year to see many birds, although the chickadees were out in force and I saw a few eastern bluebirds. The walk along the river was soothing, though, and the silence helped me clear my brain. No one was out fishing or birding or hiking or boating, which was probably wise given the weather.

I drove home through a deluge that decreased visibility pretty close to zero, and now the sky is shifting among ominous shades of gray. Rain again? All the time.

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