We need rain. Lots of steady rain for days and days. Yards are like deserts here in New England, with dust scuffing up to form low-lying clouds as animals and people walk or run across them. Faint whispers of the Dust Bowl years. No point in mowing as there is nothing to mow. Dry leaves, shriveled burnt grass that barely had time to turn green this spring before it withered and dried out from thirst.
The sun and blue skies have been glorious after winter, raising spirits beaten down by the long gloom. The rush of exhilaration every morning when the brightness meets our eyes – there is nothing quite like it except in the fleeting yellow-gold daffodils that have already gone by and dried as miserably as the grass. We fear the threat of brush and forest fires, fret over farm crop prospects, pray for the rain, but nonetheless still cheerfully greet the morning sun and blue sky that has such power to lighten our hearts.
I recall as a child that the gray-blue skies bringing rain were a pleasure to me. I loved the sound of the falling rain, the power of thunder and lightning. Sometime along the years stretching over six decades, the joy of the rain passed away, replaced by sadness and gloom relentlessly settling in whenever the steel-gray clouds slid closed across the sky. Yes, we need rain but it is hard to endure the oppressive, dulling darkness that inevitably accompanies the watering of the earth.
It reminds one of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the Canadian author of Anne of Green Gables, and the annual fear that settled on her soul as brilliant autumn progressed into winter gray. She wrote in her Journals of her dread as winter bore down, the days growing dark and short. Her spirits only lifted again with the advent of spring and bright sunlight.
The light drizzles we had over the past forty-eight hours, and then the more intense but not too prolonged downpour today, may have moistened and softened the earth enough that it will be able to soak up what rain comes next. We don’t need floods from too much rain and dirt hardened like stone. Bring on the thunderstorms tonight with intermittent showers.
Then over the weekend we can welcome a few days of long steady rain to give the fields and forests a good soak. It will bring the grass and flowers back to life, as well as replenish the rivers, lakes, reservoirs and wells. We will be thankful for the rain and remain patiently waiting for the sun to reappear.