August 15, 2002

Showers of Blessing This

Showers of Blessing

This morning I trudged around in the garden, as if walking in a cemetery. The corn like standing brown and curled sarcophagous scarecrows made rustling noises of November leaves in the dry winds. Half-ripe Hubbards shaped like rounded sand-colored cellos lay shrowed by squash leaves drooped and lifeless. The squash were not quite ripe enough to pick but so close it seemed cruel to pull them up, even though the vines would die in one or two more days of this unending drought.

It is time to plant fall greens...kale, collards, turnip and mustard greens. But hoeing a row just made a dust devil that chased me around for a while, as I walked about, reading the tombstones of one vegetable, then the next. The remaining water in buckets and barrels, filled from the last of the creek water from the deep hole near the barn, I poured around the Buttercrunch that should be transplanted soon, but why bother. Today, the last of the isolated pools in the creek dried up, and the shiners and darters, the beautiful Northern Red Bellied Dace...all are lifeless pale flotsam on a grave of mud.

The clouds spoke of rain since mid-morning, but only in a distant whisper, and in jest. Nothing at all appeared on the weather radar that I watch like an ancient shaman watches bird entrails for signs of what might be. Once again, we were taunted with the hope of rain. Oh how those first drops would seem miraculous, the ordinary become extraordinary, sacred and hallowed, if only they would come. Soon.

And then they came. Three large, fat drops on the pavers outside the porch door. Then nothing, only a high hot wind. I lay down on the walk and watched the clouds form demons and cherubs, but a gray, flat, featureless raincloud would have been the most beautiful cloud of all. So intent on the vision overhead, I had not heard the first hints of rustling down our valley to the south. Wind? Rain? Both?

Sudden, sustained and smelling of dust and ozone, the blessed rains swept in sheets down the valley. It is raining still. This afternoon, we have walked in it, waded in it, rejoiced in it. How frail we are in that the cellular seas within us, plant and animal alike, are filled by rains and rivers that we do not own and cannot invoke by a word or a law. We live on a Water Planet, but it is all too easy to take this miraculous liquid for granted. I hope that I never will again.

Posted by fred1st at August 15, 2002 05:08 PM
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