Southern California summers are typically hot and dry, especially in the areas that are farthest from the ocean. My urban farm is part of what they call the Inland Empire – “Inland” meaning it’s far enough away from the ocean that we don’t get any of those moist ocean breezes.
Months can go by here without a drop of rain. The hills turn yellow with dry brush, and watering your lawn twice a day is the only way to keep it from burning in the scorching sun. Although I don’t live in the desert, it sure feels like it sometimes.
But once in a while, the monsoon clouds from the Southwestern deserts come peeking over the mountains that separate the Los Angeles basin from the Mojave Desert. And in an even rarer while, these unusual clouds make their way to the skies overhead. Sometimes, we even get a rare shower. That’s what happened the other day.
Rio was out of his stall, wandering around the back area for his daily stroll, when the high clouds overhead began to spray water down. It wasn’t a torrential downpour, but just a quick spritz that didn’t even soak the ground. But it was enough for Rio, who hadn’t seen rain in many months.
As soon as the raindrops hit his back, Rio squealed and bucked and began running around the yard. He exploded with utter delight as Milagro and my roommate’s horse Teddy looked on.
After running around in the raindrops for a while, Rio threw himself on the ground and rolled in the dirt. He didn’t do it to get the water off him, like most horses do after you give them a bath. It was more of a joyous acknowledgment that rain had fallen from the sky and he could feel it on his back.
One of the greatest gifts our animals give us is a reminder to appreciate the simple things in life. It’s easy to ignore the beauty of a rare summer shower unless you have a 600-pound equine to remind you.