We are at that time of year in bread-baking-oven Kansas when it is easy to wonder if the rain will ever come again.
The dust kicks up
Heat melts the pen and Burt’s Bees in the car console
Windowbox blooms are crispy despite their daily drink
It begins to feel a little like A Streetcar Named Desire or Dante’s Inferno.
Kansans being typically kind people, stir little drama in the long insidious oven. Malice is rare, but the oppressive heat alters the community a bit. It is wearing. Especially, I think, to farmers, construction and road workers; anyone who is outside each work day or inside waiting for the sidewalk to cool.
The baking heat saps, scalds, and makes it easy to forget spring rains, winter snow, and cool breezes of fall.
It is easy to forget sweet cool breezes.
And yet today the alarm sang out to a room darkened by clouds beyond the draping curtains – clouds heavy with thunder and rain.
I stood outside on the stoop to soak it in
until a lightning surge streaked across my north-facing sky and sent me scuttling back into the safety of the reading nook. Thunder swelled and bellowed. Hurrah!
In the past with small bouncy children longing for more time outside than in, I have cried at that sound – when rain gave a tall sip to the six-inches of soil covering the Flint Hills. When the coating dust ran in rivulets off of the roof and resettled into the zinnias below. When rain scoured the air and the sky bloomed bluest of blues again.
When finally rain came and with it a respite from the dry – sometimes desperate – long southwind summer on the plains.
This short life has its Kansas-like dog day summers; dry and desolate with despair knocking incessantly at the heart’s door. Oppressive. Baking. Cracking. Choking. Isolating.
Until the rain unexpectedly comes
And the woosh and boom of thunder both thrills and terrifies
Our heart’s ground – first too dry and cracked to receive the rain – finally softens so the sweetness soaks in.
Shifts in jobs or responsibilities
A story beautifully written, sung, or told in paint or film
Any unexpected sweetness
free of machinations or ploys
which cools our skin and rains nourishment to our droughted souls.
And in the winter – finally sun; spring – finally heat…soon fall brings “finally cool.”
Today, I am grateful for rain.
Carry on, Pals. Enjoy the day. Live in it. Find the stuff that soothes the soul slogging through disappointment and worse. Be the one offering fresh water if you can or the one who receives it gladly only to share with the next dust bowl soul.
This is community. We don’t have to always agree, but let’s share what we have with a people in a thirsty thirsty land.