Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

by Judy King 28. July 2010 13:12

Rain Garbage Bag Rain GearFor some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about rain lately –  maybe that’s because we’ve received about 20” of rainfall since the rainy season started six weeks ago – about 60% of our annual average rainfall.

So far, I’ve been as cheerful as Gene Kelly about our soggy summer, I’ve not been singing and dancing in the rain, but the mountains are wondrously green, the lake is rising – on course for a 30-year high point .

My garden has never looked better…but…unlike Julie Andrews, I’m not cooing about “raindrops on roses” being one of my favorite things.

Think about it, it’s rained 24 of the 28 days this month – and on most of those days, it’s rained in daylight hours contrary to claims you may have read on other websites that it only rains at night here in paradise.

Those claims are fairly accurate – in times of normal weather patterns. It’s when tropical storms and hurricanes start circling their warm, moist air into our region, the blue  skies darken and we move into cycles of gray days and hours of gentle, steady rainfall. It’s enough, as Elvis said, to have “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

28July8am Those Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

As Alex and Bonnie have moved up the Atlantic/Gulf Coasts and Celia,  Darby and Estelle have pushed rain to us from the Pacific Coast this month, I’ve had plenty of indoor computer time.

I’ve been following the tropical storms on The Weather Channel link on Amigo Rodrigo’s online radio station at KMEXRadio.FM. It’s easy to spot the oddly shaped state of Jalisco – it forms that prominent bump on the Pacific Coast and then reaches inland to our location at 5,000 feet on the north shore of Lake Chapala.

Be sure to click on the animate (Weather in Motion) button under the map to see what those clouds have been doing the past few hours. For example,  the map above is the still shot at for 8:17 a.m. EDT (7:17 a.m. Chapala Time). When you animate the scene, you see the storm cells that produced the .75” we received between Midnight and dawn…and you can see how that large series of cells to the south at 7 a.m. is moving into our zone toward midday.

editor4-rainI’ve also been taking some sort of perverse pleasure in checking the website for the private weather station in Riberas de Pilar – several times a day – just to see how much rain we’ve received. I must not be alone, the owner of the site reports 6,000 visitors last Sunday!

Rather than to start “Crying in the Rain” like the Everly Brothers, “Walking in the Rain” with Johnny Ray,  or complaining, “Oh No, Don’t Let the Rain Come Down” with the Serendipity Singers, I’ve been enjoying some extra time curled up some favorite books, Rain of Gold, House of Rain and The Rain God as I “Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain” (Donavan).

One recent “Day That the Rain Came Down” (Jane Morgan) I spent watching some old movies, The Rainmaker, Rain Man, and two movies titled Rain -- one with Faye Dunaway and one with Joan Crawford.

 
Are there really 800 Songs about Rain?

A little research showed me that while there are only about 100 movies with the word rain in the title, there are more than eight hundred songs about rain – some with lyrics of note for our lives this month:

 DSC00782  “Rain Rain” (Cher)

Rain, Rain in the sky
Everywhere I look my eyes see
Rain, rain fallin' down
Crying as it hits the ground

“Eastern Rain” (Joni Mitchell)

Rain comes from the east one night
We watch it come
To hang like beaded curtains
Till the morning sun
Water dripping from our clothes
You with raindrops on your nose
Ask me sadly please don’t go away now.

DSC00902 “The Late September Dogs” (Melissa Ethridge)

Come on let it rain
Let it rain down on me
Let the rain touch my hands
Let the rain set me free
Let it rain down on me

“The Rain” (Will Smith)

The little rain drops fallin’ down on me
But I can’t seem to feel it, feel it
Feel it coming over me

editor3-garciaKeep your Eye on Mount Garcia

“Can you Stand the Rain?” (Boys ii Men)  We’re still loving life here at Lake Chapala, “Come Rain or Come Shine” (Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Bette Midler).

Still….we’re keeping an eye on Lake Chapala’s south shore peak, Mount Garcia to see if it’s still shrouded in clouds.

You see local lore says that when Sr. Garcia puts on his sombrero, you’ll know it’s going to rain. Seems like all month he’s had it pulled down to his eyebrows.

Meanwhile, we’re wondering …

Who Will Stop the Rain (Credence Clearwater Revival)

Heard the singers playin’, how we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together, tryin’ to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pourin’, fallin’ on my ears.
And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

The First Rainbird!

by Judy King 26. April 2010 22:32

nets-with-clear-sky There’s cause for great celebration and joy here at Lake Chapala tonight. Join us in a loud and hearty, “Hurrah” a delighted, “Yippee!” and even perhaps we could raise a glass of tequila and gritar (cheer) a happy “Salud” to the first sounds of the ugly and pitiful rainbird.

You see, it doesn’t rain here on the north shore of Mexico’s largest lake from the middle of September or early October until the  rainy season begins on (or before) the June 13 feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, the patron of San Antonio Tlayacapan. The old wives tales here say that six weeks after we hear the first rainbird the first showers of the summer rainy season will begin to fall.

When it hasn’t rained in months, and the afternoon wind brings along a healthy wave of dust and sand, we eagerly await the awakening of the rainbirds and their  message that rain is just around the corner – well ok, just a calendar page or two away. 

The large, local prehistoric-looking cicadas come out of their long hibernation and into lusty pre-maturity adolescence at this time of year, and begin their loud screechy, buzzing, and trilling mating calls.

clouds-on-sr-garciaThe songs of love produced by our unlovely insect heralds of the coming rainy season increase in frequency, volume, and desperation as the weeks pass – they awaken with only one purpose, and it’s as if they know their reproductive clocks are ticking. They must complete their life cycle by laying the eggs for next year’s rainbirds  before they drown in the first rains.

Actually the human cries of anguish and displeasure also increase in frequency, volume, and desperation as the month of May wears on. This old wife thinks it must be a requirement of human nature to complain about the weather --  no matter what. Although Lake Chapala is said to have one of the two best climates in the world, we still must, simply must complain about the weather. It just wouldn’t be right if we didn’t. 

clouds-building SO, in May and early June, the hottest time of the year here on the shore of Mexico’s largest natural lake, we complain about the heat. Everything is relative, so if you are in Texas, you won’t be too sympathetic when we gripe about May’s afternoon highs of 80-90 (a few days we’ll hit 95 in the late afternoon) followed by overnight lows of 60-70. 

Thankfully the humidity is extremely low at  this time of year, usually below 30% and that means it’s drier here than in the Sahara Desert. That gives us that “dry heat” you hear folks in places like Arizona and Nevada talking about. Ah, it’s still hot and very few places and homes here have air conditioning. 

Once the rains begin, it’s pure heaven here. Mornings are cool and overcast, until the sun streams through and reveals a bright blue cloudless sky around 10 a.m. All through late June, July, August and sometimes September, the temperature warms during the day to around 75 to 80, and by late afternoon, dramatic grand thunderheads are building over the mountains that encircle the lake.

rain-over-lake Sometimes we have a heavy shower around 7 or 8 p.m. Usually it waits until the middle of the night to let go with a dramatic thundering, banging and booming rainstorm punctuated by flashes of beautiful lightning. The temperature drops into the high 50s or low 60s for perfect sleeping. The next day we start all over again, in a world that has been washed fresh and clean.

There are those who will tell you it only rains at night here. But in the manner of “telling it like it is,” we’ll tell you the straight scoop…it only rains at night until there is a tropical storm or hurricane skirting one of Mexico’s coasts. When one of those spinning systems hovers in one spot, it feeds that warm moist air over the mountains and into our area. Sometimes we have as many as two or three days of overcast skies in a row.

double-rainbow That’s when we who live here start into our own form of seasonal depression disorder. On the rare occasions when the clouds have lingered three or even four days, there’s been evidence of mass depression among the foreigners. Once we’ve become accustomed to one of the best climates on earth – the year-round beauty of eternal spring, we loose the ability to adapt to climatic change!

If you want to check the accuracy of the rainbirds (or of the old wives) six weeks from tonight is June 7 – that would give us the rains a full week early this year…wouldn’t that be nice!

Meanwhile, here’s another tip from those wise old wives. Watch for the clouds to settle down and obscure the top of Mount Garcia, the mountain on the south shore of the lake. Our Mexican friends and neighbors tell us that when “Sr. Garcia puts on his sombrero, rain is coming. (The second photo above shows el Senor and his sombrero.)

Welcome back Rainbirds!


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

About Judy King

Judy King

Hi There — Welcome to my little corner of the world. I'm Judy King and I live in the centuries-old village of Ajijic on the north shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake.

I've lived here full time since 1990, and... [ more ]

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