2017-02-16 / Columns

There’s magic in the mist

On the Trail
Gloria Glasser

SOAKED AND SOGGY WINTER—The photographer catches this Feb. 11 Agoura Hills rainbow just in time. 
JOHN LOESING/Acorn Newspapers SOAKED AND SOGGY WINTER—The photographer catches this Feb. 11 Agoura Hills rainbow just in time. JOHN LOESING/Acorn Newspapers I am the mud-encrusted curmudgeon of rural Agoura. I can’t recall the last time I stepped inside a pair of dry shoes. If I hear one more person exclaim, “Don’t you just love all this rain!” I fear I’ll lose my mind.

I used to be a cheerful sort. That was before rain runoff began flowing copiously down the center of my street, deep enough to float a Venetian gondola.

Then one rare rainless Saturday dawned, rich with the promise of a dry day. I rushed to load my three canine charges into the car. By the time I turned the key in the ignition, enormous raindrops began to splat on my windshield.

“No, no!” I wailed. I’d been stoked to the gills at the prospect of a very long hike in very bright sunshine.

And suddenly it was pouring again. Half of the sky had turned leaden and grim. The other half was placid and blue, flaunting a double rainbow.

I drove up to Agoura Hills to check if it was raining there. It was, and there were more rainbows and the constant shrill of sirens. Evidently I wasn’t the only one expecting neither rain nor slippery road conditions that day.

I parked at the top of Ladyface Court, which offers an expansive view of the city and the Simi Hills. Monstrous rain-spewing clouds were all that was visible. There was just no outrunning the rain.

Two drenched fellows hastily emerged from a paved service road off Ladyface Court that seemed to climb straight into the hills above. Intrigued, I and the trio of “Drizzle Dogs” decided to see where it went.

The road led to an unmarked locked gate, behind which was a debris basin. It was easy to get around the gate. The area was half-wild, half-paved, with formidable debris-catching grates installed around the storm drain.

There was a by-then tame little waterfall issuing from the plush green hills, dribbling delicately into naturally terraced rock pools. Its lacy rivulets of water fed into a gravel flat laden with multicolored rocks.

And as if in anticipation of our arrival, there in the clear, shallow water amid the blocked debris was a tennis ball.

The Drizzle Dogs went nuts. We began to play. It was still raining lightly, but the sun was beaming. Its rays transformed a gray curtain of raindrops advancing down the hillside into individual iridescent, shimmering beads.

When the rain let up, the asphalt began to smoke like fumaroles when sunlight hit the damp surface. I was enveloped in this heated mist, a benediction for rain-drenched flesh. The dogs leaped in the air, snapping at rising puffs of mist.

I surveyed the hidden Eden we’d stumbled upon. Even a curmudgeon had to admit the accursed rain had provided a most magical experience.

Glasser is a writer fascinated by all manner of natural phenomena surrounding her home in the Santa Monica Mountains. Reach her at ranchomulholla@gmail.com.

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