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before the rain that ends the drought

The cicadas sing their doppler song of midsummer.

We are dry as long-dead bones pressed into rock and exposed to a thousand years of sun.  Grass is brown, frogs huddle under leaves in watered gardens to protect their skins from shriveling.  You can hear wood and metal expand in the 10 am heat.  The sky is more white than blue, absolutely cloudless.

It was supposed to rain today.  Three days ago, they called for rain which didn’t come.  And last week, and two weeks ago.  It didn’t rain then either.  We had a big thunderstorm before that  – it began at 4am and lasted seven hours.  Then the sun came out and dried it all up. The heat is heavy like hot stones piled on your legs and chest and mind, weighing you down.

The farmers say their first crop of hay yielded only half what it did last year – there will be shortages this winter.  Heat-loving insects I’ve never seen before are eating whatever they can…

I remember droughts like this in the 70s.  We survived those, as we will this one.

Grant and I are both struck with the culture of heat in a workaholic, northern climate – we’re not used to stopping at noon and sitting in rocking chairs on the back deck, watching butterflies and drinking iced lemonade.  But save for a trip to the beach, this is all we can do – make like a begonia and stick to the shade.

I’m finding this valuable. The butterflies, the gardens that still manage to grow and flower, the frogs that shelter there, the trees that drink the sun and make oxygen right before my eyes – all exhibit an incredible, impossible beauty.  On their behalf and our own I appreciate every small breeze, every cloud that crosses the sun.  And more than anything I appreciate rain.

When it comes I will dance in it.

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