I’m writing this in the waning Sunday morning for Wednesday’s post.
I’ve been an Urban Baby for most of my life. Water out of the tap (Chicago – flat-rate, pretty cheap). AC everywhere, even when I don’t want it. Public trans, working in all but the most ridiculous temperatures. Weather was more about making sure I always had a sweater, since there is always a 50F temperature difference between inside and out.
Then I moved to the suburbs and things got a little weirder. No real public trans and larger spaces between amenities. Water was way more expensive – I learned about rainbarrels – and in the winter, if you’re smart, you keep a pair of boots in your car (and a hat) ‘just in case’ – but hey, it’s the ‘burbs. How bad could it be? Your car breaks down, Triple A will be there in a few minutes. Pretty simple.
Now I’m in the country. Real country. Well, I’m’ in town’ , such as it is, – but a block away, town ends. For reals. Water costs more than gas, the source is not abundant and only the Truly Stupid waste it. Out here, weather is not to be disrespected. We’ve been in drought for a month, with 90F temps. Ground completely parched. That dusty, hot radiator smell that says nature is doing its best to hold on – but it ain’t lookin’ that good. Rain barrels totally dry (800 gals goes faster than I could’ve imagined). Capturing every bit of greywater I could, to keep the kitchen garden alive. Hard work. Is it 2011? Or 1811? Hard to tell, when you’re hauling pails of dishwwater. No a/c, lots of fans. You really get a sense of how scary Nature can be, when it’s 100F – inside your house. And your own insides are cooking. Whatchagonnado when the well runs dry? Yeah, ‘that’ kind of scary.
5am. I wake up to 89F and fog. Crap. Drag the shower pail outside to the corn. Yes, it really is That Bad. Clouds in the near distance – but we’ve been fooled before. A bit of thunder. So what. Last thunder rumbled through on 60mph winds and dropped all the rain on Chicago, 200miles away. So….. Carefully water the corn…
…lightning. LIGHTNING? It’s really close….and the wind isn’t picking up too quickly. A bit of ozone. That beautiful greenery–yallery–grey sky that portends real rain. THUNDER. BIG thunder. Close. Oh please, please, pleeeeeeze. Wind, don’t take this rain away from us. Please?
7am. Wind! Thank you!!! A massive storm rolls in…and stays. And stays. Temps drop to 80F. Blessed coolness. 72 degrees. Real wetness, not that awful ‘ sizzling concrete’ smell. Corn stalks and tomato cages are knocked over but nothing’s broken. A bean bush seedling is up! I’m in the kitchen garden, up to my ankles in mud, righting corn stalks, pounding in stakes and tying pepper and tomato plants, the smell of crushed tomato leaf mingling with the wet, ozone-y, beautiful smell of wet earth. Wet. earth. Another front is moving in fast. I need to hurry up. Wait. Why do I need to hurry up so damn fast? I’ve waited a month for this rain. It’s not radioactive. Slowing down….pounding the stakes in with precision (there’s not a lot of room for error – this garden is crammed), tying the delicate branches, laden with green tomatoes, with careful deliberation. Rain soaking me through to my undies. I can feel my liver cooling down. It’s now raining so hard it’s pooling in my garden clogs. And my ears. Weird feeling – the opposite of dust. The peppers are overgrown – might as well harvest while I’m in here. Bell peppers the size of softballs – that greywater really paid off. But now it’s time to let Nature take back over for awhile. My spine is grateful.
I’m soaking wet, covered in mud and tomato leaf and stinging pepper juice….and it’s so wonderful. Rain barrels are full, not that I’ll need them for awhile. It’s still raining, a now-soft, soaking rain. The world smells living again.
1pm, as I write this. It’s actually a bit (dare I say it?) chilly! Outside, soaking-wet cardinals and finches fluff their feathers as they crowd their feeders. The hummingbirds zoom past the sugar water on their way to the real deal. It’s going to rain, on and off, all day. Such a wonderful thing. I know some places are getting a bit too much (and too much of the world is not getting enough) but for us, today, this rain is a gift.
I wore Parfum de Therese this morning but the rain washed it all off. I’m just fine with that. As beautiful as perfume is, sometimes it’s good to just smell like rain. And tomato stems. The slickery-sweat smell of hard work in rain. Pepper juice. Wet dirt.