“It cannot be described, this awesome chain of events that depopulated the whole Earth; the range is too tremendous for any to picture of encompass. Of the people of Earth’s unfortunate ages, billions of years before, only a few prophets and madman could have conceived that which was to come – could have grasped visions of the still, dead lands, and long-empty sea-beds. The rest would have doubted… doubted alike the shadow of change upon the planet and the shadow of doom upon the race. For man has always thought himself the immortal master of natural things…”
― H.P. Lovecraft
Here in Dallas we had been in a drought for the whole summer. It’s always hot and dry here in the summer months, but this was especially bad – we hadn’t had any rain at our house for a couple months (it had rained a bit in South Dallas two weeks ago) – our lawn was brown and all the doors in our house were stuck – the clay soil here shrinks something awful and distorts foundations and houses.
But yesterday we went to Fort Worth with my son and his girlfriend to visit the Best Maid Pickle Museum and grab lunch at Brewed (one of my favorites – I once rode the train and my bike all the way to Fort Worth for some Chicken and Waffles there). On the way back we drove into a Thunderstorm – it was scary on the freeways.
But it wasn’t as bad (we saw no standing water) as it would get later that night. Parts of East Dallas had nine to fifteen inches of rain, causing terrible flash floods.
This was a freak storm – but I am used to the summer phenomenon here of the sudden hard thunderstorm ending a drought.
For example, from my old blog – Tuesday, August 04, 1998 24 years ago.
I drove home from work this afternoon, the tape of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” speaking its pages from the tape deck. Now, to listen to a tape while driving takes a lot of concentration. I can listen and drive, watch the road, but not anything else. It’s plot, voice, character, and oncoming traffic. Some effort, skill maybe, is needed; I’ve been checking out tapes long enough now that I can do it.
With all my attention focused like that I didn’t even consciously notice some shapes smearing on the windshield. Instinctively, my hand twisted the know on the steering column, setting the wipers in motion. Several minutes went buy before I actually realized what was happening, what was smattering on the glass.
It was raining.
Ordinarily this wouldn’t be any deal at all. But it has been so long, exactly a month actually, and the intervening oven days so broiling that I had forgotten about rain. No more than a sprinkle, but ohh, it looked so good.
I stopped for gas. Shoved my card into the slot and clicked the automatic hook-deal on the handle so the gas would flow on its own. I purposely stepped back, out from under the sheltering gas station roof onto the unprotected part of the apron. I wanted to feel the rain, get wet, see the spots form on my white business shirt. I felt like yelling, singing, dancing.
The smell was wonderful. I had forgotten the odor of fresh rain on dry grass.
Not much of a rain, not enough to end the drought. The hundred degree days will return by this weekend. But it was something… a respite. More than that, it was the return of hope. The killer heat will dissipate, the drought will be drowned. Until today, those indisputable facts were impossible to imagine.
Hope- a reminder that things will get better, that we will all survive. That’s what we’ve been missing.