Saturday, May 16, 2015

Enough Rain to Drive for Miles

It has been raining - honestly raining - for a couple of weeks. There is thunder and lightning and wind, and then rain falls from the sky for longer than one minute. Instead of dusty, cracked dirt there is mud. The clouds in the sky are normal Kansas clouds and not mere wisps of vanishing vapor. For far too long there has only been "fake" rain - thunder, lightning and wind but only a stingy spit of rain. I was afraid the Kansas climate had permanently changed.

Now the grass is so high it will take two days to mow. There has only been a window of opportunity to mow once so far. Let me clarify. I have only felt like mowing once of any of the times I could have mowed so far. The most important perk of living in the country is that the neighbors will not complain about a lack of yard work. Do not think the absence of social pressure means I will never mow.  The back half of the fattest, longest black snake - ever - disappearing into the grass by the chicken pen is more than enough incentive to keep the lawn civilized. I happened to be standing at the front door when I noticed the snake. Jake was sitting back a safe distance watching it. He lazily eked out one lame "arf", then looked at me.

"You are FIRED!" I shouted at that worthless dog.

He does not care.

These long years of drought meant I have not driven in the rain after dark.  It has been such a long time that it was unnerving the other night, especially when I realized my eyesight has diminished. I slowed down to compensate. I appreciated the rhythm of rain against the windshield, the "slishing" roll of the tires, and the slick light reflections smearing across the landscape. I was thankful for the life-giving rain replenishing the streams and ponds and the lakes, restoring the moisture deep in the prairie soil, refilling the wells.

With rain like this the prairie explodes into lush and extravagant green. When nature adorns herself yet again with the celebratory finery of a verdant spring, I wonder at the living processes we take for granted. The earth is a marvel, alive in the same manner as we are alive. We must realize this and act accordingly before we succeed in stopping the rain forever.

Rain has magical properties beyond the natural, too. The outside temperature display in my Ford stopped at 50 degrees last winter and has not wavered a single degree since. Driving in the rain suddenly brought it to life. When I noticed, it was negative 7 degrees. As the wet interstate miles rolled, the numbers steadily fell until it was 33 degrees below zero in my driveway. Taking my chances that I would not be instantly freeze dried if I left the safety of the car, I stepped into the welcome rain and did not mind getting wet.

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