Walking down the lane to the paper-box this morning, I was thinking about how very long it’s been since we have had any substantial rain. I’ve commented before that normally I would have mowed the meadows at least twice by now, but this season the tractor still sleeps in the barn. It feels more like a cool summer than a fall day.
The winds have come back, today bringing the sharp, burnt-resinous smell of the forest fires to the East. All around, the trees are crackling-dry from the drought, and have begun to lose leaves in their conservation of water. Everywhere there is still the terrorism of brown dust, cackling and rubbing its hands as it continues to choke the color out of the landscape. I can hear a wind-gust, rolling toward me: the rushing, rattling trees shedding dust into the air, giving the wind itself yet more substance as it hurtles onward toward me. The air rushes ever-closer over the rocks and dust in the gravel lane, rattling them from their resting places and making it sound like a semi is bearing down upon me.
The gust slams past, laughing in my face with dust, dirtying my hair and nose, and stinging my eyes. The two dogs and I pause momentarily, the dogs squinting reflexively into the distance without care of the passing gust.
We continue onward toward home, a group of dry leaves in the lane tittering past like a clutch of schoolgirls walking a hallway and sharing some inside joke.
Pulling the paper from my pocket, The Daily Obvious states that since the first part of July, we’ve had no more than an eighth of an inch of rain, and that minuscule amount only on two widely-spaced days. Records both in drought duration and intensity.
Meanwhile, still no rain.