Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rain, Rain...

We have just been through four straight days of rain.  After a number of years of drought and near drought here in Israel, rain is very welcome and a blessing.  But sometimes blessings are a bit more than we bargained for – no one really expected that we would get most of the winter’s average rainfall in four days.

Despite the fact that almost every year there is at least one very heavy rain, with a lot of water coming down very fast, and a lot of discussion about what needs to be done to prevent flooding, somehow it seems to never get past the level of talk.  And so this year, with very heavy rains continuing almost non stop for four days, all the rivers and streams in the country filled to overflowing (serious overflowing!), the Sea of Galilee rose higher than it has been in years, gorgeous waterfalls appeared where they have never been seen before, and of course floods.  No comparison, of course, to floods we have been heard about in the last few years in other countries, but many roads closed and even completely under water, and houses and neighborhoods flooded so that people had to leave their homes for a few days.  And despite all this, I haven’t really heard of anyone who was unhappy about the rain – we do appreciate water here.

I have to admit that rain is not my favorite thing.  I very much appreciate the necessity for plenty of rain, to replenish our resources and to bring all the plant life around us into burgeoning life, and we have no fear of floods here, being up in the hills, but it would be nice if it didn’t rain on my house. 

I have a deep seated trauma about rain on my roof.  When I moved into this house almost 43 years ago, it was almost a total ruin, and it took us many years (since we never had any money to pay for repairs) to get it into normal,  comfortable and livable condition.  So for many years, winter rains meant that in part of the house, you needed an umbrella when there was heavy rain, and most furniture and such had to be moved out for the winter.  We were lulled to sleep at night by the drip-drip-drip of the water from the ceiling into the variety of pots and buckets that were strategically placed all around the house.  I developed extremely good selective hearing – in my sleep I could hear the vessel that was full to almost overflowing, get up, empty it, put it back, and go back to sleep until the tone changed again.

One year, when my parents visited from the US, in the rainy season, they found me on the roof spreading plastic sheeting and holding it in place by nailing down wood strips, in hopes that the rain would run off…It didn’t work very well…

I was also terrified of thunder storms.  People worry about their dogs being afraid of lightning and thunder – well, mine never have been, they were the ones that comforted me.  There was a reason, of course.  We lived here for 17 years without electricity (yes, NO electricity, not a generator), not by choice of course, but still…When we finally got electricity, it became addictive immediately. Perhaps for us it was even more essential than for those who always had it.  Thunder and lightning storms almost invariably caused us to have electricity blackouts, and usually it was at night.  So there we were, in the cold and dark, with raindrops falling on our heads, and just the dogs to keep us warm…

The associations are indelible.  Whenever there are thunder storms, I nervously wait for the electricity to go out.  And although we have rewired and renovated everything over the years, at least a few times a winter we are left sitting in the dark, with the rain falling on the roof (and yes, it always does happen at night).

The dogs don’t mind the rain. They all have excellent shelters, with roofs, dog houses, everything necessary to keep dry.  And then I look out and see them lying curled up in a ball in the center of the yard with the rain pouring down, or sitting on the doorstep with a nice big dry dog house 30 centimeters away…

Habibi, however, definitely does not like the rain.  He is totally spoiled.  I think he could go for two days without peeing at all if it meant not having to go out in the rain.  I let him out, he sits on the top step pressed against the door with this expression of “You can’t be serious! You expect me to go out in this????? No self respecting dog should be tortured like this!”  And this is not just when the rain is pouring down, a fine mist and wet ground is quite enough to offend his sensibilities.  He will just sit there until I go out and make him get off the step and go out to the yard.  “Well, if I have to get wet, so do you!”

When he comes in, he dashes around the house, wiping the water off on the bedspread and the sofa, and then goes to sit next to the radiator until he is sure that he is completely dry.  I have to say that I do identify with him, my feelings are the same.

This year there was a lot of snow that fell during this huge storm, mostly in the north where there is snow every year, and some in Jerusalem, where there is sometimes snow, but usually not much.  This year there was quite a lot – enough to cover things, build snow men, have snow ball fights.  Israelis get very excited about snow, and those that live in the areas that never have snow will get in their cars and drive for hours to go and see the snow.

We are just under the snow line, there is very rarely any snow here, and there wasn’t any this time either.  I do not miss it – I grew up in Chicago, and I know what REAL snow is.  The one time, some years ago, when there was a really heavy snow that covered us also, the kennel roof collapsed from the weight.

Habibi, though, has not seen snow. I wonder if he would consider it to be the same as rain….

The big snow at Shaar  Hagai - once in 43 years...


  1. Habibi and Pepper must be related (Cnaani and Miniature Poodle???) Pepper HATES to go out in the rain to pee. He is also very spoiled and sleeps in to 9 am every morning under the covers. :D

  2. I guess my dogs have gotten used to rain, since it does so much around here in my corner of Texas (the wet end!), they will usually go out unless it's a complete deluge outside (which does happen now and then). Not much worry of snow here, as it's about a once-a-decade occurrence. After the last couple of hurricanes that hit our area, I've worried about our roof leaking, which included a bad leak at my old rental house, and a couple of small ones here when the wind blows from the wrong direction (and blows the water up under the shingles). One of our old dogs has never liked big storms, which we only discovered right after finding her, during a hurricane two months later.