Ron Colone: On the subject of all those scars


Rain is God’s gift to poets. I say that not because it’s so beautiful or sweetly natural or dramatic or gentle, as the case may be; and neither because of its rhythmic tappings or its dancing dots, its swirling currents or its angled streams, but because of the negative ions that fill the atmosphere and fuel our creative juices.

Negative ions are produced when air molecules break apart from moving water, as happens with flowing streams, crashing waves, hidden waterfalls, public fountains and thundershowers.

Contrary to the name, they can have a very positive effect on some people. According to a WebMD article, entitled negative ions create positive vibes, “for a whopping 1 in 3 of us who are sensitive to their effects, negative ions can make us feel like we are walking on air.”

Not everyone feels that way, like my gal, for instance. There are few things that bring her down as fast as a cloudy day. Then again, as a horse trainer she works outside, so when it rains, it keeps her from doing what she loves. But jobs aside, some of us crave the emotional space the rain puts us in.

I wonder if it’s a genetic predilection, like whether or not you like the taste of black licorice, which is an inherited trait, dependent on the presence of a particular gene.

I had heard that rolling your tongue is an inherited trait, but I’ve come to believe that is yet another myth passed off and perpetuated as truth. The internet is full of them. This one stems from conclusions put forth by a geneticist in 1940.

A decade later, in response to studies that disproved his claim, he relented and said, "I was wrong, rolling your tongue is not a genetic trait," and as far as I can tell it has never been reliably refuted since. But still, you hear people repeating it — because they read it somewhere, or someone else told it to them.

As for legends that persist, the ones associated with the weather are some of my favorites, like the whiteout in Indiana, the flash floods in Phoenix, the blizzard of ’78 and the rainstorm of 1998.

I know it was ’98 because I can still see the front page of the newspaper, and remember the date: Feb. 5, 1998. The photo showed the flooding water pouring across the intersection. I had driven across that same flooded highway two days earlier to get to the plant so we could put out the paper.

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Like everyone else, we didn’t have power, but aided by a generator and gung-ho spirits, we managed to spit out the pages of ads and articles, physically paste them up, and go get it printed 30 miles away at a different facility than usual. So, I will always remember with clarity and fondness that storm and its flooded roadways, the downed trees from the 70-plus mile-an-hour winds, the raging streams and the thick gray clouds.

Even though we vary in our response to it, there is no one I know, in these parts, who doesn’t welcome the rain, because everyone knows we need it. The crops and the vineyards need it, as do our home yards and gardens. The animals on the farms and ranches and out in the wild need it.

It has an impact on the cost of food, the price of goods, our property values and business prospects, and it is a matter of public safety.

So, we’re grateful for it, but cautious, too, because even though we don’t get enough, sometimes we get too much in too short a time, and when that happens it can be destructive — reminding us of the lesson of moderation and giving us a reason for conservation.

As one of those 1 in 3 who are positively affected by the rain, I offer up my own private thanks — for the smells and the sounds and the green landscapes, and for giving me another column.


Get to know more of the history of the Santa Ynez Valley by going through our digital archives at

Essential Ron Colone: Start your day off with a little perspective. A collection of musings from columnist Ron Colone

It is hard to provide a short bio for Ron Colone. Writer, performer, business owner, concert promoter, music historian, baseball fan, proud son of Detroit for a start. There's so much more. We at the Santa Ynez Valley News have been lucky to work with Ron in various roles for more than 30 years, and we want to make sure you have a chance to read more of his thoughtful and insightful work. Here are a few of our favorites, let us know if you remember one that we missed and we can add it in. 

Ron Colone can be reached at


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