How Country Living Changed My Outlook on Weather

One of the biggest ironies about moving to the country has been the surprising shift in the way I look at weather forecasts.

Back when I lived in the city, I was not a fan of rain nor snow. The reason was pretty simple: commuting.

After our work team was relocated a few years ago, I had accepted that taking the car to this new location would always be faster and more efficient than dealing with buses or our emerging light rail system. After being a bus commuter for 35 years, I felt justified in taking that decision and in having done my part for the environment.

I occasionally questioned that wisdom when a major reconstruction project on a major artery kept adding time to my commute, but I still persisted.

But when the highway was narrowed not only from the construction itself but from vehicles breaking down in the construction zone like it was the Bermuda Triangle, my patience started to wear thin every day that lanes would be blocked, adding to the commute time.

But when you incorporate precipitation into the mix, whether rain, snow, or freezing rain, it became impossible to predict just how long it would take to get to work. Let’s just say that I restrained myself from drinking too much coffee just in case I’d be stuck in the car on the highway (between off-ramps) for lengthy periods.

Back then, whenever I looked ahead to a forecast with several successive days of rain, I would already start the week with a bit of a frown.

But now living in the country, in the Covid-19 era, where I have been working from home and haven’t had to commute in almost five months, I have had good time to recuperate from idiot drivers, construction, precipitation and stressful commutes.

Whenever we do go back to the office, with our country home as the starting point of the commute, there will be traffic, but not in the same numbers on the approach to the city… at least that is what I have been told.

What has been a surprise to me has been how a forecast for rain has taken on a completely new meaning.

In our country home, our water is supplied through a well system. Over the last few weeks, I have learned quite a bit about how they work.

After a winter with a below average snowfall, followed by a spring and summer with high temperatures and low rainfall, it didn’t take long to understand the impact of dry weather on wells and feeling like a concerned member of the community.

The bottom line is that if a private well goes dry, it’s not quite as simple as opening the yellow pages and calling for a water truck. Mother Nature is really the one responsible for the ongoing replenishment of the groundwater that supplies all of our wells.

Fortunately, my partner and I are both pretty mindful of our water consumption. We use our water as we need it for the essentials, but we don’t use it frivolously. We also try to spread out our usage to give the well enough time to recover.

With farmers’ fields surrounding us, one can’t help but feel worried for those whose livestock and crops rely on a steady supply of water to maintain their livelihoods. That just seemed to reinforce our determination in our smart use of water.

As the dry conditions continued, I found myself checking my weather app more and more frequently, hoping (and sometimes praying) to see rain in the forecast.

Even the small talk buzzing around the grocery store and the pharmacy seemed entirely focused on the need for rain and not about current events or celebrity gossip.

And then it happened: a forecast for several successive days of solid rainfall. The forecast planted the seeds of joy. The next question was whether the weather forecasters were right or were they wrong again.

You cannot imagine my glee when I woke up one morning to find puddles in our gravel driveway, a sure sign that we had had a good rainfall overnight… and there was still more to come in the forecast.

Mother Nature really came through as she provided a fairly steady rainfall over a few days. With no work on our part, our lawn went from a crispy brownish yellowish hue to a lush green in a matter of a week. Even the weeds took off like weeds! I believed that we probably (and finally) got the rain we needed to help the wells and the fields, putting minds at ease.

I could only imagine the happy dance that the neighbouring farmers must have been doing.

It was in that moment that I realized the extent to which my outlook on rain had changed in such a short time. Where forecasted rain used to taint my mindset around the drudgery of city driving, it now took on new meaning around water supply, food supply, connection to nature, and connection to the community.

It was indeed an interesting epiphany that helped me realize that I was probably more adaptable (and adapting faster) to country life than I may have originally thought.

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