Starting with the theory that weather affects mood, then the mood in central Illinois has been dark and stressful.

Starting with the theory that weather affects mood, then the mood in central Illinois has been dark and stressful.

When it rains or shines, it’s just a state of mind. Seasonal affective disorder, they call it, when the endless string of gray and sunless days brings us down.

The SAD phenomenon is usually associated with winter, not bright and fresh spring. But from farmers to children, the seemingly endless rain this spring has put a serious damper (with the accent on “damp”) on what should be one of the best times of the year. 

From Elkhart to Girard and Illiopolis to Virginia, fields that would normally be sprouting the green of new life lie muddy and puddle-pocked. Farmers have been standing impatiently next to their tractors, listening to the drip, drip, drip of rain on the metal roof as the growing season goes down the drain.

Too much of the 2008 corn crop is still in bags. Some corn that did get planted is turning yellow. Time is growing short to get the rest in.

Two questions: “How late can corn still be planted anyway?” and “How’s your sump pump working?” are heard as often as, “How high will the price of gasoline go?” and “Is Gov. Blagojevich in trouble?”

Does anyone know any good rain jokes? We could use some.

Kids sit in dugouts, gloves oiled and ready, but the diamond is too muddy to play again today. Your golf league is four weeks behind. People can’t swim in Lake Springfield because heavy rains have made it one big petri dish of bacteria. Soccer balls are gathering cobwebs. The grass grows an inch a day.

This is central Illinois’ spring 2008: Lake Shelbyville is about 12 feet above its normal water level … high water from the north is still flowing downstream … flash-flood warnings are issued every day … streets and highways are covered with water … just about everyone has either been huddled in their basements or walked through darkened houses with flashlights, or both.

People need to know three ways to get to Petersburg, just in case the first two routes are under water.

We went eight inches above normal rainfall, then nine and then 10 and counting. We have seen more of weathercasters Gus, Joe, Lee, Judy and watched The Weather Channel than we care to. Fine people, but a little less of them would be appreciated.

“Got water in your basement?” replaced “How are you?” as the general greeting.

Seattle is supposedly one of the rainiest cities in the country. Just for the record, Seattle has had a laughable 14.33 inches of rain this year. 

We have a foot of rain more than that. Seattle is a desert by comparison.

When it stops raining and we do get a sunny day, it is unbearably humid. Tuesday’s genial weather gave the first promise that the worst of the rain might be behind us.

When it comes to water, this has been a historic spring in central Illinois. The first five months of this year have been the third wettest in the state’s recorded weather history. According to the frequency in which this much rain falls around here, we are not likely to see anything like it again in our lifetime — not that we would complain.

Is it safe to put away the umbrella now?

Dave Bakke can be reached at (217) 788-1541 or dave.bakke@sj-r.com.