Friday, July 19, 2013

Rain is an indifferent host of joy, grief, or despair. For me, Joy.

I've never seen massive flooding and if I had, it might change my response.

I love rain. I love the sound, the smell, the sight of it. I love what it does in the Southwest, where I have always lived one foot from drought. Sometimes we have had abundance, which means we had the amount we needed. Occasionally a little over.

We have had flooding in poorly developed areas where greedy developers paid no attention to the topography. I've never seen flooding as I see on television in other places.

I wonder if those folks dread rain now. I suppose they must. Middle America farmers unable to get into their fields to plant their crops. Yes. They must hate the rain, at least, this year. Families in cities with pleasant riverbanks which overflowed and filled their houses. At best, they must have mixed feelings.

But without it, where would we be? We can't live without water. Or food. And both depend on the rain.

I have a friend in Georgia who envies me because after a sever drought, Georgia has too much. I have a friend who lives in New Mexico and envies me because the drought has gone on and on, and she yearns for the rain. Having grown up there, I can say that nothing, nothing at all, smells better than the desert greasewood after a long-awaited rain. Nothing.

I'm always reading, and I can't remember often where I read what. I remember reading that after the earth is not rained on for a period of time--weeks, months, even years--when the rain comes, as the rain is approaching, the oils in the earth mix with the water and produce an intoxicating smell.

How often have you sniffed and said,"Rain is coming!"

I haven't asked, but I suspect the perfume is greater when the earth has not been washed recently. When vegetation is actively growing from previous rains, the smell Is different. Pleasant, enjoyable. Somehow, when the earth really needs the rain, the smell is exotic, multi-layered, and to me, intoxicating.

I read the Harvard Classics as a child. My parents thought ever educated household should have them. One book was by Guy de Maupassant. I read, years later, he was one of the few writers who included all five senses in his writing. Most novelists include only one or two--or three--nowadays taste is certainly a part. This French writer included all five in his 19th Century writing.

I wonder if reading him, in his French countryside, did I absorb the notice of all the senses, or did I simply enjoy him for the senses I already loved? Surely the reading stimulated them? No, I think I responded as I already met the world and that is why I liked this writer. I say it so assuredly. But I recognized, even as a pre-adolescent, what he was writing about.

All my grass here in Texas is green. In late July. At least 3/4 is un-watered Bermuda. By this time, in North Texas, my lawn and the countryside should be the color of straw. The cattle, horses, sheep and goats don't worry about the dried foliage--they are used to it and it is healthy for them. But today, July 19, all is green.

After a popup rain last Thursday, the soaker over two days Sunday and Monday and another popup today, We Have Rain. Over a week, about 3 blessed inches.

I was trying to work in the house when I heard the rain thrumming and gave up to go on the screened porch with the dogs to enjoy the sound and more of a green smell, and the sound and...well, the dogs thought I was nuts. Humid, rain blowing in. warm. It still was glorious.

I watched and smelled and listened. Didn't think much.

It was the best part of my day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see no problem commenting clicking Anonymous.

--Matt G