The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region
Margaret Hartley's Greenpoint
by Margaret Hartley


A Daily Gazette community blog
Ideas on greener living

Make a weather wish, but carefully

I was hoping for a nice soaking rain, but not until after I had gone berry picking. Strawberries picked just after a downpour tend to rot very quickly.

This time of year we tend to be very specific with our weather wishes: what kind of weather we want, when we want it and for how long.

The rain held off for me that morning, and I picked a good load of beautiful berries in the heat. I still wanted it to rain, but I wondered if my jam would set better if it wasn’t too wet out. Maybe I could wish for rain in, say, three hours.

The rain held off some more — long enough for me to put up three kinds of jam, and for my son to go biking and swimming with his buddies.

It was hot, outside and in the kitchen. And the garden was dry. The new transplants were drooping. The lettuce was wilting, and I had meant to pick some for my neighbors that morning. Should I run out and water, or keep hoping for rain? Or just wait until the next morning when everything would perk up again in the dew?

My husband came home on the tractor, from a field down the road he had been mowing for hay.

“I’m sorry. I keep hoping for rain,” I told him, in full confession mode. “I know you don’t need it to rain on your hay.”

This is the way we think: If I wish for rain because I am hot and the garden is dry, and then it rains, it will clearly be my fault that our hay gets ruined sitting in a sodden field. Because I was the one who wished for the rain.

My husband uses the same magical thinking, but he was feeling very magnanimous. “It’s OK if it rains,” he said. “I’m going to feed this hay to the oxen right away; I don’t need to store it.”

What a relief. I was free to wish away, and because of that, we got a lovely summer thunderstorm. Nothing violent, just a nice soaker. Well, it was a little shy of a soaker.

“It’s really not quite enough,” I told my husband. We were sitting on the steps outside with our iced tea, because all my jam-making had made it pretty unbearable inside. “I mean, the rain tank’s not even half full.”

Ingrate, that’s me. At least I didn’t have to water the garden.

And next morning, the lettuce had perked up beautifully, and I picked a big bagful for my neighbor.

On the way to work, I drove through areas where the thunderstorm had not been gentle. There were trees down and limbs ripped off, and leaf litter all over the roads.

When I got to work, my colleague said she hoped it would rain. Her home and garden hadn’t gotten any water the day before.

An hour later the thunder started to rumble in the distance. Half an hour after that, we were in the middle of a violent storm, with streaks of lightning and cracks of thunder. Soon there were reports of flooding, cars stuck and trees down.

That colleague. She always goes overboard like that. You really have to watch out when you’re wishing for weather.

Margaret Hartley is the Gazette’s Sunday and features editor. Greenpoint appears in the Gazette’s print edition Sundays on the Environment page.

Have a question or a topic you’d like addressed on Greenpoint? Contact or @Hartley_Maggie on Twitter.

Enjoy this post? Share it!


There are currently no posts. Be the first to comment on this story.

columnists & blogs