I was both surprised and delighted by the gentle rain that started falling in the early afternoon on Thursday. It was still raining when I drove home, and I made a point of driving more slowly than usual, remembering that the first rain after a long drought makes the roads extra slippery. And they are already extra curvy. The summer tourist traffic helped in this effort, and I reminded myself to be thankful that the visitors kept me driving below the speed limit.
Traffic slowed dramatically as I approached the sharp curve leading to a state beach, and I thought that perhaps the time had finally come that I could take a picture of my favorite view on the coast, even though it would be in the rain. But I couldn’t get my phone out in time, and soon learned that the cause of the slowdown was a car accident. Two cars heading in opposite directions had ended up in the southbound lane (the side I was on). It must have happened recently, since there were no flares or emergency services on scene. We just drove carefully around the crashed cars.
I thought the excitement was over, but I was wrong. Along about my friend Jim’s road, traffic on the Ridge was crawling along as far as my eye could see:
I passed a blue PG&E truck at the next road, which made me worry that the power was out. I texted Megan, but she was in the Big Town hanging out with Lu, so she had no idea what was going on in Hooterville. As I crept along the Ridge at less than 5 miles an hour, I wondered if I would be able to get home at all, or if I’d have to turn around and head over to my friend Erin’s place again, especially when traffic ground to a halt.
Just as I was about to turn the car off, it started inching along again. Arriving at the road where our friend lives whose skills and heavy machinery made the garden at the family property possible, I saw two Highway Patrol trucks, and let a third one turn off to join them. They all had their lights flashing, but I couldn’t see any crashed or stopped cars, or any sign of anything other than the CHP trucks themselves.
For some mysterious reason, traffic eased up after that, and the rest of the way home was uneventful. The power was on, the garden and its resident frogs were overjoyed about the rain, and the cats were napping. All was right with the world.
A YEAR AGO: Of cats and carpentry.