Rain-speckled buttercups brighten this Earth Day in the San Juan Islands.
IT’S JUST THE SPIDERS AND ME in Wee Nooke, my 36-square-foot writing hut atop our rocky knoll, on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Too wet for my usual editorial assistant, Galley Cat, who usually drops in every 10 minutes for a kitty treat when I’m working up here. Our little ginger feline sometimes perches on the desk next to my laptop, just being companionable, between forays to hunt mice or harass the local garter-snake population.
Persistent rain patters on the cedar-shake roof today. I’ve turned off the tunes I often listen to while writing; this rooftop percussion is music enough. It’s soothing and delightful, accented by soggy birdsong from nearby trees and a buzzing whir from a passing hummingbird, perhaps amped up on the sweet scents of wildflowers and organic compounds unleashed as the raindrops hit the earth.
The gray sky has lowered and everything outside my window drips greenly. I’ve cranked up the electric radiator under my desk. With toasty feet and a cup of hot tea, does life get better?
The rain is a gift. Seattle was on track for its driest April on record, with less than one-tenth of an inch of precipitation as of Monday.
Our San Juan Islands, in the Olympic rain shadow, almost certainly collected less, and it was showing. The forest duff was starting to crunch like corn flakes underfoot. The cozy mantle of moss upholstering our rocks and ramparts was taking on a yellow tinge usually reserved for the arid days of summer.
A wildflower called sea blush adds color to the rocks and moss outside my writing hut.
Today, the moss is like a lush and spongy carpet, greening up with every hour. Other beneficiaries include the Western buttercups (Ranunculus occidentalis) that add cheer at my hut’s front step, along with a purple-pink flower called sea blush (Plectritis congesta), aptly named because it can grow so thickly as to add a warm splash of color to an entire meadow or shoreline.
After an awakening five decades ago, the cause of preserving the planet has taken many hits under the other Washington’s current regime. But let’s hold out hope for the power of renewal, just as the rain renews our woods and meadows.
To mark Earth Day, my little piece of this planet is having a long, luxuriant shower. So, I’m setting aside all worries. A blissful cleansing is something to celebrate.