Humboldt Made: What We Love About Humboldt

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What We Love About Humboldt:

Storm Warnings

Linda Stansberry

Think you love Humboldt? Spend a real winter here. Wait until the roads flood and the wind shakes the walls of your house like a terrier with a toy in its teeth. Are you thrilled or are you terrified? No judgment—we’re just saying that most of us are thrilled.

There’s a reason that a dedicated subset of our locals count storm-watching among their outdoor pursuits. There’s something primal and stirring about standing on Table Bluff or the top of Trinidad Head watching the furrowed brows of storm clouds push their way over the waves to the coast, warm air whipping through your hair as the first skitter of rain drops begin to fall. It’s humbling to be reminded that even in the midst of civilization nature can bring traffic to a standstill as we all crawl down the highway in the middle of downpour so insistent that turning on your windshield wipers is like trying to slap away a river.

And there’s something immensely satisfying about propping your feet up in front of a heater while the rain drives against the windowpanes. If your pets are inside and your hatches battened, each outdoor chore done and tarps drawn against the weather, then what’s not to love about a good winter storm? It’s the storms, after all, that fill our rivers and estuaries, that breathe life back into the redwood forests and make the yellow hills of our valleys green again.

In the more rural reaches of our county, storm days are a cause of breakfast time celebrations as children wait eagerly to hear that the roads have washed out and school has been canceled.

But while we sit at our hearths and daydream about a summer of full swimming holes, it’s only fair to acknowledge those in our community who make this comfort possible. To the California Conservation Corps corpsmembers in Fortuna who fill sandbags for local businesses. For the firefighters and emergency personnel responding to motorists spun out on slick highways. For the Caltrans workers clearing ditches and slides and downed branches and debris. For every business owner who braves the wind and rain to open their doors for their customers so we can have a warm cup of coffee, a hot meal, a book. For the utility workers restoring power to our blocks. For the letter carriers who meet and exceed their motto this time of year. For any neighbor or friend who has joined us in the pouring rain to help find a pet scared by a thunderstorm, or who has brought over soup when we’re taken down by the dreaded Crud. Humboldt County is a community of neighbors, and nothing proves it better than when winter comes along. Stormy weather?

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