That's this morning's picture, courtesy of the National Weather Service's Pacific Southwest mosaic, of our dry season ending. Or at least so we hope. That's rain in the lowlands and snow in the mountains, with the western, back edge of the rain outlining a cold front a front moving in from the Pacific.
After months without any real rain--I think the last thing heavier than a prolonged drizzle was in the first week of June--even a modest storm can be a surprise. Not because you don't know it's coming--forecasters saw this one a week out--but because of how suddenly the world goes from one state--dry, sere, thirsty--to another--water pounding down from the sky, runoff cascading down the gutters, and at least the promise of green ahead.
The thing is, we never quite know what this first rain is a harbinger of. A wet winter that brings the landscape back to life and fills reservoirs? Or another dry winter that heightens the awareness of how fragile our hold on this landscape is without the massive plumbing system we've built to sustain us.