It’s true: the heavens open up, and we’re beside ourselves with giddy joy. Last night, it rained after enough thunder to make the dog try to squeeze my bed between my pillow and the wall. This morning, I stepped outside to see a few stretches of standing water on the deck before the temperature evaporated it all back into that all-too-predictable sky.
It’s been decayed-bone-dry here. Stepping outside either means entering a giant sauna or being battered around in a giant dryer (depending on the wind). The corn is dead or dying, the fields are straw-like or brown. The cat has given up and gone to sleep on the floor, and the dog is in such despair about the state of things that he’s been trying to bite through a bag of coffee beans (I got it away from him). Such is the state of the worst drought in 27 or 52 or 85 years (depending on the source) in a summer when a drop to 99 degrees makes us say to each other, “It’s not so bad out now.”
Rain is the hot topic: “What is this thing you call ‘rain’?” my publisher writes back to me when I ask if their weather in Iowa is as bad as theirs. When it did rain, some weeks back, my friend Reva posted on Facebook, “Where were you when the rain came, and how did you rejoice?” On the phone with a friend in Vermont, when she mentioned yet another storm, I almost swooned and asked her to describe the downpour in detail.
Here, when the rain does come, it’s like a mirage broken away (or maybe the rain is the mirage). Sure, it might be 100 degrees and raining once every two or three weeks for a few minutes, definitely not enough for this land, these animals roaming and foraging this land, and all of us who live here. Yet when the rain falls, we fall in love again, and of course, we want to dwell happily with our beloved, if only this sexy being wouldn’t rush off to cooler places.