A couple weeks ago I woke up to sunshine blasting through the bedroom blinds and said to my husband, “It never rains in this city.”
The words had scarcely left my lips before the city thunder-rumbled in reply, “Oh, you silly newcomer. You have no idea what I am capable of. Hold my beer.”
I knew all about the big flood back in 2013, but in my defense, in the two years we’ve lived here it feels like it has barely dropped two inches of rain in all that time. Calgary consistently boasts the most hours of sunshine of any city in Canada, clocking in at around 2400 hours a year, but rain? Not so much. It has a very arid climate.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the sunshine. It’s one of the reasons I am happy to live here. Too many cloudy days put me in a gloomy mood. A month or two of rain and cloud would have me rocking in a fetal position. But too little rain can also be a bit anxiety inducing. There is no resource on earth that is more precious than water. Well, except for air. But fresh water is a tight second.
It has now been raining pretty much every day since the words, “It never rains in this city” left my lips. And I’m not talking little light showers that speckle the pavement. I’m talking water that falls in sheets, overwhelming the storm drains and creating rivers in the street.
Last year the mighty Bow River near our home reported its lowest levels in the 80 years or so that they have been keeping track of that sort of thing. Today it is a muddy torrent, topping sandbars and lapping ever higher along the shores. So far no flooding, despite the city calling a state of emergency and making preparations just in case. Instead the land is responding in gratitude with lush greenery and a rainbow of blooms.
The evening air is intoxicating. I have never smelled anything like it. A hedge of lilacs in the country is a wonderful thing. But thousands of hedges is quite another. Add to that balsam poplars in the park and a mix of all kinds of scented shrubs, trees and flowers in the yards and it is enough to make you swoon with joy. I wish there was a scent camera to capture the smell, like you can an image, so I could share it and enjoy it over the winter months. Instead I am treasuring the perfumed air every evening until it dissipates. This is not what I thought a city would smell like.
Today the sun is shining and the garden is growing so fast you can almost see it snap and pop. However, I see there is some more rain predicted for tomorrow and the day after that. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the city for my morning whine. It does still rain here. I was wrong.