It’s raining. Really raining. It is desperately needed here in the western Catskills. You can almost see the trees sighing with relief.

It’s been a very, very dry summer. We haven’t had a serious rain in weeks. We’ve watched heavy storm clouds roll toward us, release a drop or two, then head over the mountains toward the Hudson. It’s really strange.

This is usually a rocky but lush part of the world, more like Scotland than America. I suspect it’s why so many Scots settled around here.


This summer, the grass is burned. I haven’t had to mow in weeks. The Handsome Brook is just a thin thread of water, its steep banks brown and rocky, more of an arroyo than a brook.

It’s a test of our well, a mysterious hole behind the former barn that we hope is deep enough to access the water that is underground everywhere here.

Usually, we have the opposite problem. It’s too wet.

Many of the houses in our town get water in their basements. It runs down from Franklin Heights into the village, and right under Main Street. The houses on the hill side almost all get water, and deal with it in their own particular way. The houses on the opposite side of Main Street get water, too, but not as much. And three streets back, some of the houses are actually in a flood plain. The Ouleout Creek, probably 200 yards back and far below street level, has been known to flood so high that the houses on West Street got their feet wet. It’s honestly hard to imagine.

Right now, the sound of rain outside is incredibly welcome. But, like most things, moderation is best. Too much of a good thing is a problem.

Those of us who tend to worry never seem to catch a break.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.