Water: Can’t live without it. Can’t live with too much of it.

Terry Baum
3 min readJan 17


San Francisco in the rain

This is what I felt about the rainy season on the day it began, New Year’s Eve 2022:

December 31, 2022: I sit in my studio tonight, comforted by the continual soft thrum of the rain. Rain rain rain rain rain. Then a little sun. Some wind. Then rain rain rain again. Even though it’s often a great inconvenience, these days I think we all feel a little bit more relaxed when it’s raining. We don’t know what the future holds, but right now, the life-giving water is a-comin’ down. Yes. It’s beginning to feel a lot like a good old-fashioned rainy season.

This is what I felt when I woke up last night, January 15, when the rain was, once again, a-coming down:


The sound of rain was no longer comforting. It was scary. It wasn’t a fear for my own particular situation. So far, my home has remained dry inside. So far.

I felt a primal fear of Mother Nature. Why “Mother”? Why this need to personalize the force of Nature at all? I felt fear of the limitless power of the natural world.

What if it doesn’t stop raining?

This could happen.

What if it does stop raining for a long, long time?

This too could happen. And this would be worse than if it never stops raining because truly there is no life without water.

Is there a place that doesn’t get too much or too little rain? And also doesn’t have cyclones or tornadoes or hurricanes? Is there anywhere that doesn’t experience the intense destructive power of Nature?

I keep thinking Pennsylvania doesn’t. Am I right? You never read about natural disasters in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania never makes the front page of the New York Times. I really don’t like California being on the front page of the New York Times.

The Birthday Flood

A few years ago, 2018, there was a big storm and the water was very personal. I think of it as The Birthday Flood, because it was around midnight of the beginning of my birthday when I discovered there was a waterfall in my bathroom. Really, it was coming down the wall in sheets. It turned out I had a leak, and the water was not staying outside, as it was supposed to. I put up a shower curtain to direct most of the rain into the tub. We put buckets everywhere and mopped and mopped, and succeeded in keeping the water in the bathroom, so the wood floors weren’t ruined. But that bathroom and the upstairs bathroom had to be torn out and rebuilt.

I felt no fear. I knew I had a big mess to deal with, but I had insurance, and I knew that it would pay for putting everything back to the way it was. The assumption that insurance would pay for everything turned out to be false, but I didn’t know that. The point is I felt that society had supplied a structure because I had literally paid my dues, also known as insurance premiums, and eventually everything would be okay. I just had to put one foot in front of the other.

I was not afraid because it was my personal problem. I personally had a leak. I got the leak fixed and the bathrooms rebuilt. I had enough money to pay for what the insurance company refused to pay. End of story.

What is the end of the story of this rainy season in California? We must rebuild what has been destroyed and we must figure out how to minimize destruction in the future. People do have ideas about how to do this.

We cannot make it rain during a drought, but we can find ways to manage the rain when we get too much of it. And if we can store that rain, we’ll do much better in the drought.

I urge every Californian to write your elected representatives and urge them to prioritize this. Find your representative here.

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Terry Baum

Terry Baum is an actress, director, teacher, filmmaker, political activist, and award-winning lesbian playwright. Her blog BAUMBLOG is a “Top 100 LGBTQ Blog.”