On a Rainy Afternoon
June 15, 2011 § 3 Comments
With temperatures soaring into the high 90s, warring bi-coastal
invaders rush to combat over central Florida.
Clouds descend; skies darken; thunder rolls; and lightning streaks from earth to sky. Raindrops roll down hot windows, along steamy concrete paths, soaking the parched earth.
The thermometer drops … 98 … 95 … 89 … 83 … 78 ….
Perhaps this is only a scout storm sent to find high-ground and hold it for the larger forces of nature that follow. Or perhaps the herald has spoken, and the longed-for season of summer storms has finally arrived. No matter … we welcome her.
Soon clouds lift, exposing a bit of blue sky on the horizon.
The sun casts beams through small breaks in the lingering gray.
A rainbow appears, bringing smiles to faces only recently hidden beneath umbrellas and the covers of naptime beds.
How quiet the world becomes. How clean and invigorating the cooler air that rushes in to lift the heat skyward and refresh the land.
I love a rainy day.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, polio ran rampant through the cities of North Texas. For this reason, when not traveling with our parents, we spent most of every summer with one set of grandparents or the other.
At the Summers’ farm on Cottonwood Creek near Allen, Texas we milked cows, waded in the creek, churned butter, ate biscuits and gravy for breakfast.
At the Hilger place on the outskirts of Greenville, we gathered eggs from overprotective hens, snapped green beans, played hide-and-seek in the storm cellar, hunted for treasure in the attic. And on those rare rainy afternoons, made bedspread tents from which to safely watch a storm pass in review.
But beware the brooding, churning mass of green-cast clouds with the anvil look.
“That’s how you know,” Granddaddy Hilger told me as we watched monstrous storm clouds dashing toward us. “Mark my words. Those are hail producers at the least, tornado-spawners at the worst.”
When the storm passed and all became calm once more, off came our shoes and out of the house we’d run, dancing and splashing our way through puddles, flipping the old Native-American grinding stone, spilling the water held there. For as every child of Texas knows, mosquitoes love small containers of water in which to hatch their young.
Today’s storm has passed, the evening is cooler, and my memories retreat to little cubbyholes in my mind. Tomorrow, if we are lucky, the cycle will begin again and sometime in the late afternoon, when the thunder rolls and lightning flashes, rain will fall, feed the earth, and refresh my spirits.