Sun break: a brief respite from horizontal rain

Ahhh, May. In Northwest Oregon we call it April: Part Two – where April rain brings May showers, and today the showers have been amazing. We also have something rather unique here called Sun Breaks – a strange phenomenon that proceeds or (depending on your perspective) follows a shower.

Today, the sun breaks have lasted anywhere from almost 30 seconds to well over three minutes. Good thing my wife insisted I slather on the sun screen before I took my brief walk around a small section of the garden. I suspect that the horizontal flow of raindrops that caught me as I was midway around the loop washed it off in no time. I scurried back into the house just in time to avoid the pounding of tiny hail pellets. By the time I took off my boots, spread my coat out near the woodstove to dry and sat in my favorite chair, the wind blew the clouds away exposing the sun for another sun break. I had to laugh.

Pinus parviflora 'Bergmani' pollen cones
Pinus parviflora 'Bergmani' pollen cones

I did see quite a lot of new growth while I was outside. Almost all the conifers were showing at least some sign of their spring push. The Japanese maples have leafed out and are so full of color that I almost missed the tiny reddish purple cones beginning to develop on my Pinus banksiana ‘Schoodic’. My pines are all extending their candles – some silvery, some golden, others near white, but most are rich shades of green and many have distinctive red or orange cones adorning the new candles like little gems protruding out of long fingers.

Pinus banksiana 'Schoodic'
Pinus banksiana 'Schoodic'

As I type, I notice that a sun break is beginning even as the current shower pounds hard on the roof making it difficult to hear the mellow sound of A Love Supreme by John Coltrane on my stereo. All this rain is what makes western Oregon so lush and green throughout the year, so I can wait patiently knowing the warmer days (and fewer showers) of June are just around the corner.

Conifer Lover

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