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Rain Barrel Waterfall

by | May 6, 2013

SONY DSCEarly in the morning I awoke to the sound of rain drumming on the tin roof.  It sounded heavenly.  I snuggled deeper into my toasty down comforter and thought about the thousands of delicate baby sunflowers and celosia we had just planted, and how their dry toes would get a well-needed soaking.  I pictured them bursting into sunny bloom in Lisa’s garden once these April showers had done their loving work.

The downpour was so loud it made me thankful our grown son was not home, trying without success to sleep in his old bedroom.  The roar on the doubled garage roof area, since 2009 when a huge oak fell on the old garage, was truly deafening.  Of course, it was probably almost that loud during the years he was a teenager, but we all know that nothing can awaken a teenager, not even an alarm clock.  (“Why didn’t you wake me earlier?” was often his accusing line as he rushed out the door to school.)

I finally got up and went down to my cozy kitchen where a fire crackled in the fireplace.  Torrents poured off my umbrella as I sloshed out to get the newspaper, double-bagged and safe from the rivulets that divided and ran around it on the sloping driveway.

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The rain gauge already showed almost an inch of rainfall, and I thought happily of our four rain barrels, sure to be filled to brimming.  The weekend visit by three little grandsons had exhausted their water supply.  We love having rain barrels handy at each corner of the house, ready for filling bird baths with untreated water, for giving thirsty geraniums a drink, for replenishing the fountain. And best of all, they can keep a pack of children occupied for hours on end.

Throughout the weekend, little hands had filled buckets, watering cans, water pistols, and squirters of every kind. There had been accidental drenchings and the need for changes of shirts or shoes and even a time-out or two when the water warfare got wild. A seething cauldron of rain water, gravel, dirt, and tree bark had been concocted in a satisfying mixture gleefully called “poop soup.” (We trust that was just a childish metaphor.)

As I splashed and dripped up to the back door, thinking of full rain barrels and the French press that was ready to be pressed down for my first cup of morning coffee, I did a double-take.  There was an extra water sound.  Startled, I saw that the brass faucet had been left wide open on the rain barrel between the back door and the basement door, in a small person’s effort to drain one more drop out of an empty barrel.

Fresh new rain water was pouring off the roof, down into the barrel, and sluicing right out of the faucet.  It was steadily splashing on the bricks and rushing off under the basement door, down the steps to pool on the cement floor where unfortunately the sump pump was not working.

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At this rate, the rain barrel would never fill up, but the basement was well on its way toward a new occupation as a swimming pool.

A flick of the faucet handle stopped the cascading water and I hurried in to my fresh coffee.  With me as I savored the first hot sip was the warm memory of a three-boy weekend, the happy thought of the fourth rain barrel filling as the rain drummed on, and gratefulness for Robby who would deal with both the basement swimming pool and the malfunctioning sump pump without complaint in his own good time.