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photo by Sheri Dixon

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Pitter Pat of Little Drops

It rained last night.

Such a simple sentence. Four words, none of them remarkable.

But this is Texas circa Summer 2011. I stopped counting when we hit our 75th day of over 100 degrees and we haven't had more than .05 inch of rain since May.

We were already in our 4th year of drought and the extremely unheard-of heat plumb finished us off.

Rain has been forecast, promised, held in front of our noses- so many dew-covered carrots more times than I can count on one hand in the last 3 months, and each time the weather updates and the percentage likelihood drops, fades, withers away before our very eyes as though even the weather report is no match for the furnace blast breezes and unrelenting glare of Old Sol.

So I watched the forecast this time as though listening to the tired refrain of an abusive spouse. "THIS time will be different. I've changed. I promise, Baby", knowing full well it's most likely complete bullshit but dutifully nodding all the same.

We were supposed to get rain starting Thursday night and for the following six days. Each day dawned bright and sunny and each night the moon reflected back the sunlight that couldn't leave us alone for even a few hours.

Thursday. Friday. Saturday. Sunday.

Wait.

Last night the moon did not come out- the clouds did.

Breathlessly, hopefully, we looked up the radar and there it was- headed for us.

Rain.

Now even then there was no overt merriment- not long ago a large storm formation thundered down from the north and as we watched split neatly in two just to the north of us, then re-formed just to the south of us, drenching everyone within miles...except us.

So we went about our business, nonchalantly.

The clouds deepened. The temperature dropped. The radar glowed red covering the tiny speck that is us.

*plop*

One drop fell heavy to the earth as though thrown.

We held our breaths.

And the heavens opened, the giant pillow of clouds were torn end to end and water cascaded down, covering us in a slumber party's worth of beautiful feathery drops.

For over an hour it fell steady, fabulous and life-giving.

Today and for the next week or so it's sunny again, but not as hot and the dust has been knocked off of everything.

I breathed deeply of the cool morning air as I checked the creek. It's not running yet, but where the springs ooze up into it there are puddles- bigger puddles where the 3 within sight had been stalwartly refusing to dry up- ice cold on the feet of all who splashed in them- boy and dogs, and worth the trip down the bank for our 16 year old cat who crouches at their edge- a tiger in his mind's eye.

Yesterday all the foliage was dust red and today the colors are once again visible- different shades of green, but far too much yellow and brown where plants, shrubs, trees small and enormous have starved to death silently.

And I understand being grateful for the rain. I understand the relief it brings both physically and mentally.

And I can look to the sky and say "Thank you" sincerely.

But I don't get the whole 'Thanking God' thing.

I didn't get the whole 'praying for rain' thing either.

Apparently neither did God- for months and months.

Because if God brings the rain, that means he also withholds it.

That means all the dead cattle, birds, plants, trees, all the ruined farmers looking at no hay this winter and no pasture either, all the wildfires, all the decimated forests, all the torched homes and their accompanying now-homeless families, all the wounded firefighters, the young mother and her baby who died trapped in their flaming home...also the work of God.

When the whole idea behind religion is to provide order, and comfort, and a greater power who is just and righteous and someone/something to order our own lives and behaviors around...

I'll just go on believing it's merely Weather, thanks anyway.

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