The rains came…the bleakness and austerity of the drought is driven back by showers and boisterous marine air. The sky is scoured clean of the haze and smog that had funneled over from the wildfires to the east. Fire behaviors have moderated under the influence of the moister air. It’s a long-awaited relief.
Somehow, despite the shower and cloud activity, the air feels lighter and cleaner and brighter, as is my mood. The wind hissing in the trees doesn’t sound threatening anymore. Today, it sings. The rhododendron greens are upright and lustrous again. The long spotted leaves of the lungworts, which were limp and slumped to the ground, have raised themselves on their newly plumped stems. We sat out in the garden staring up at the sky, watching cottony cloud banks move overhead and remarking on how good it all felt.
Tomorrow is the last day of August. September with its later dawns and earlier dusk waits for our daydreams, our return to outdoor chores, camping and picking apples. The woods will smell like a New England memory again. We will walk beneath breezy sun dappled trees, kicking our way through this summers’ leaves. We will wait for the winter rains, and pray for a good snow pack in the mountains and for the flames and hot spots to finally be vanquished. We will release a long exhale. We will breathe easier.
I am a lucky one. My losses this summer can be accounted for as easily as counting apples, tomatoes and beans in the freezer this winter. Other’s have lost so much more. Some have lost everything. The droughts take their toll on the earth. The earth takes it toll on us. Our welfare is intertwined with hers. It’s an inescapable truth. You could call it a law of attraction.
This summer’s gardening season was instructive. I need to work harder to make things more sustainable in my own little world. I have a short list going: Mulch more so I can water less; Fewer plants in pots for the same reason; Work more diligently on the drip irrigation system; Build a shade pergola. Attainable goals. Baby steps. One after the other.
Meanwhile, the earth continues to move around the sun, bringing us with it. As we pass through the changing seasons we too are changed. I hope the changes include insight and wisdom and instruction from these hard dry times. I hope we are encouraged to behave less carelessly on the only planet we’ve got to carry us around that sun. I hope we stop arguing about the cause of the dis-ease of our earth and find the courage to begin treatments. Meanwhile, the immune system of the earth has kicked in a little to assist us. The rain clouds that applied themselves to our wounded region are like a healing balm. The week ahead holds promises of more. It’s like love, raining over me. I’ll take it and be glad.
Ilona Elliott…Rainy Day Writing