This morning, you could feel a change in the quality of the air. After weeks of dry weather, the air feels softer, the sunlight, filtered through the moisture, less intense. The hillsides around Tablas Creek are almost impressionistic, each range layered more dimly than the next. It's a scene that I think is beyond my capabilities to capture photographically, though I tried this morning. It struck me that it was better done with oil on canvas. A few of my favorite efforts can at least give you a sense of what it's like:
The contrast between the ground -- which we've been plowing to break up surface roots and better allow the rainfall to penetrate -- and the surrounding hillsides was very different than is normal for Paso Robles. Humidity here is typically around 10%, which means that distances are deceptive. Hillsides that are miles away feel much closer. The hills in the photo below are of the next ranch. All the visible hillsides are less than a mile away.
I like this shot for the feeling of the day... no longer fall, but not quite winter; dry leaves rattling around on the vines and on the ground; and a softness to the air:
This moisture is hopefully the harbinger of our first real rain since the big storm on October 13th. The forecasts suggest that our long-lasting ridge of high pressure is breaking down, and the first in a line of storms will arrive on Monday. This pattern, with the Pacific storm track aimed at California rather than the Pacific Northwest, is typical of el nino conditions. We hope that this dose alone might bring another ten inches in the next week or so.
Fingers crossed that it does.