After nearly a week of snowmelt runoff, a good, honest rain moved through Monday night. I had made a small fire from brush I picked up in the yard, and I was watching it burn, enjoying the aroma of woodsmoke, when I saw the dark blue of the front in the west.

    I didn’t know when the storm would arrive, but clearly it was headed our way. Later, inside, I checked the weather radar. Sure enough, what had been bruise-blue outside was an amoeba of yellow and red on the radar map. It was just nudging Duluth when I headed for bed.

    It wasn’t, technically, our first rain. We had had a few other minor events, intermittent drops falling from low stratus clouds. But, for me at least, this counted as the first good rain of spring. I lay in bed, listening to it tap on the roof, wishing I were in a tent somewhere. I dropped off to sleep with that soft, irregular tapping in the background.

    Did we need the rain? Well, I suppose you could argue that one. The ground, most places, already was sodden with snowmelt. The creeks and rivers were running high. But there’s something about the first real rain of spring that seems to jump-start life. Long-dormant grass turns green almost overnight. Steelhead, gathered at North Shore river mouths, move into rivers for spawning when warm rains bring water levels up. Robins must appreciate what a good soaker does to bring night crawlers to the surface.

    So, yes. I think we needed it.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to hear wood frogs or spring peepers any evening now.