An unusual amount and frequency of rain has fallen in this desert-like land; nearly every day for a couple weeks, it seems. Wildflowers that had been non-existent all summer have sprung to life, and I am surprised at the joy within me to see the variety of colors dotting the quiet dirt drive and fields nearby.
In the still darkness of this new Saturday, I am startled out of sleep by a scream. I jolt upright to listen, wondering if it is the child in the basement, or something outside. Determining that it is outside, I quickly step to the window and listen. I hear a faint response of an elk. Elk! So loud a call that it awoke me! Wishing I had night vision, I peer into the darkness half anticipating to see the beast in our back yard, but I hear nothing more and view only black space.
My husband wonders if the rut will be early this year, and he let’s me know that Young Man, who came by to check on his Longhorn and Angus, thought he saw elk tracks down near the wallow of drainage water. My mind thinks that is pretty darn cool. Maybe there is a chance for an up-close backyard’s view this season.
Morning has rolled quickly into a hot afternoon with only a small chance of an afternoon shower. Just maybe, it’ll be a rain-free day. Younger Man, nearly seventeen, is itching to get out of the house and off the property. Despite the heat, he undeterredly works his words to get us out for a hike. Obtaining a partial payoff, we head towards town and beyond with plans to casually scout out a Fall hunting area.
The sky is sunny and bright. Turning from crunching dirt and gravel onto the main road to town, we look northwest and see the darkening sky. A quick errand later, and the heavens have become ominous. The afternoon trip turns from a walk in the wilderness to a drive through Dairy Queen, and we three retreat to our Back 40.
The swirling clouds are a lighter shade of gray now as I slide the high-backed deck chair under the eve and take a seat to watch. A thick billowing line rolls to the south and begins to turn up and over on itself, like a horizontal tornado spin. I am fascinated, observing the wonder of churning clouds in the sky, as wind shifts their spin into counterclockwise revolutions.
I’ve always enjoyed a good rainstorm. One summer afternoon, as a young child in the small corner house a decent mile out of town, I was playing house with Little Brother when rumblings and lightening cracks from outside grabbed my attention. How fun! My brother was scared of the rolling thunder and crackling of light, but I would be the good mother and show him there was nothing to fear. I pulled up two half-pint chairs and planted them facing the open screen door. Here we could sit and watch the storm. Another time, as a teen in the big farm house of family generations, perched on the cement porch rail, I watched shards of lightening explode across the evening sky and listened to the rain pound the earth without mercy.
It is different here. These high altitude storms cause the temperature to plummet a good twenty degrees or more and it immediately feels like a new season has sprung upon us. Long downpours and dramatic lightening shows rarely make an appearance, unlike the way they often sustain themselves in wide open country of plains and rolling hills. I am pushed inside by the wind. Rain begins now, somewhat gently, but quickly turns to pelting drops with a bit of hail mixed in. Gratefully, the drops become larger, but pelting ice is driven elsewhere, and I sneak out front and then back to the deck for an up-close view.
The storm passes, returns for a brief soft encore, and sunshine returns. I am refreshed. I ponder the flowers out front; even though they have gotten their fill, they will be dry and begging for more in less than a day. Without good roots, and adequate, timely filling, they quickly wilt and fade.
Isn’t humanity the same way? Without healthy roots, people often flounder, becoming desperate in a search for belonging. However, are healthy roots enough? How are they kept healthy? We too, like the flowers and the earth, need adequate and regular filling to survive and thrive.
To be continued…