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Sunny views of the rain

September 23, 2007|James Ricci | Times Staff Writer

Yes, a debris slide on the backside of Griffith Park trapped some cars.

Yes, a Costa Mesa woman had to be rescued from atop her marooned van.

And yes, an Angels home game was rain-delayed for the first time in nine years.

But, despite the inconveniences, how many drought-fatigued Southern Californians actually enjoyed Saturday's unseasonal rainstorm?

How many drifted to sleep the night before with bedroom windows cracked open, the better to hear the alternating drumroll and pizzicato of non-DWP water, free of charge, falling from the sky?

How many chuckled to themselves while fumbling at the steering wheels of their cars in the morning, trying to remember how to turn on the wipers?

How many huddled with strangers in cozy, crowded interiors of coffeehouses for a midmorning cup?

In bosky Fern Dell on the western edge of Griffith Park, the creek that had been a pitiable trickle for the last year was flowing with new conviction Saturday afternoon as Christiane Egbert and a friend approached. They came striding down the park's hiking path, which had become a slippery paste the color of milk chocolate.

Egbert, a 28-year-old who works in the business-to-business unit of Staples, wore a white tank top and black running pants. She hugged her rain-slicked shoulders and twisted her torso languidly.

"It just feels so good on your body," she said. "When I woke up, I knew I had to get out in it today."

At the Silver Lake farmers market off Sunset Boulevard, a somewhat diminished throng of shoppers navigated around scattered puddles and good-naturedly snatched up gnarled cucumbers, Kyoho grapes and apple cider vinegar.

"I think people are kind of enjoying the rain," said farmer Charlotte Youngblood, standing behind giant piles of red delicious and Granny Smith apples, and plump Fairtime peaches. "We don't see it all that much."

Meanwhile, from a covered patio at El Sereno Middle School in Los Angeles, 16-year-old Liliana Torres of Canoga Park High School watched the rain fall on auditions for the Los Angeles Unified School District's All-District Honor Band.

Waiting to audition as a flag bearer in the marching band, she mused on the damp scene. "It reminds me of Mexico," she said. "When you go out, you smell the wet dirt, and the birds are singing."

The rain similarly failed to dampen preparations for 8-year-old Leslie Campos' outdoor birthday party at Lanark Recreation Center in Canoga Park.

Amid gaily decorated tables and chairs, Leslie's 22-year-old cousin Raul Malta dropped handfuls of candy into a Spiderman piƱata and admitted he'd been a little worried the rain might sour the party's prospects. Instead, it enhanced them.

"The days were very hot and this is refreshing," he said. "You feel a little better. I like when it rains."

Tumbling gray clouds of various hues sent fat raindrops pattering through the trees as Rigoberto Guzman took his twice-weekly exercise walk along leafy Fern Dell Boulevard in Griffith Park.

"I'm really, really happy it finally rained," the 49-year-old hotel waiter said. He raised his palms skyward and lifted his eyes. "Look, just one time it rains and already the trees are happy. So green, so clean."

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james.ricci@latimes.com

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Times Staff Writers Scott Gold, Efrain Hernandez Jr. and Deborah Schoch contributed to this report.

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