Column, Living the Dream

Replenished by a storm

By Merisa Sherman

It’s so dry, that even underneath the protective straw, I can see cracks in the asparagus bed soil. The pansies on the western side of the garden are making their final push before their foregone surrender while the grass is a prickly brown that cuts your feet. The wildflowers are shirking their duties, barely growing taller than the surrounding grass. Even the driveway dirt seems to be desperate, reaching out to pull even the smallest droplet of moisture from the heavy air above it.

I am hiding under the shade tree, a big, beautiful tree with branches sturdy enough for a grown adult or, more frequently, the local gaggle of turkeys. I am not in the tree, but lying on the blue and purple quilt my mom made me. The fabrics are filled with pansies, lilacs and forget me knots, in a traditional pattern with the palest blue background. It’s light and airy and perfect for getting lost in a book under the shady tree hiding from the beating sun. It just feels like you are laying on a cloud of spring cheer.

Swatting away the horsefly that seems more interested in the story than the reader, I turn the yellowing page in my book. He makes a swirling figure eight pattern around my head while I try in vain to get him to leave me alone without losing my place in the book. It is, of course, a futile exercise and the pages flip rapidly until only the cover faces upward. I sigh and make a soon-to-be-forgotten mental note to buy a different shampoo next time I brave a mask-filled trip to the big city.

I swat at him again, this time knocking my straw hat off. With the added vision, I notice the light yellow leaf under bellies beginning to show themselves and I look around. Dark clouds have been hinting all day, but the has shown no signs of relenting from this pounding heat. I felt a few small water droplets hit my skin — three to be exact — but the wind died back down. The clouds returned to their fluffy white and the sun became even hotter in the sky. I put my hat back on and wilted back into the quilt, anything to distract from the heat of the day.

I was barely able to get back into my book, when I heard a low rumble of thunder way off in the distance. Heat thunder, I convinced myself and decided that I would have to water the plants after this chapter. Nothing makes me feel more like a hero to nature than watching plants relax with joy as you water them on a ridiculously hot day. Three more drops landed on my shoulders and then … BOOM!

The sky opened up and I couldn’t grab my mom’s quilt fast enough. I wrapped it around my arm to protect my cast and almost slipped on the wet grass in my bare feet. With my book under my arm, I held my hat on my head in a joyful dash for the covered porch. Finally, the moisture was being sucked out of the air and lain to rest in the thirsty earth. It was pouring.

The sky turn grey and I watched from undercover as the world transformed. The grass began to stand up proud, reaching for every drop and glowing a bright, luscious green. The flowers danced in the rain as the wind blew their stems in all directions, their bright colors glistening. In just a few minutes, a world that had seemed dim and depressed was awash in celebrations. I was mesmerized. Purples and yellows and pinks that were dull, now sparkled with new life. I wanted to dance with them, to raise my arms in the rain and spin in circles as the water poured down my face. To grow, fresh and new, full of energy and life, replenished by the quick storm burst.

Just as quick as it had come, the storm was over and the blazing sun returned. Fast-forming puddles quickly soaked into the soil and the plants sucked down every last drop. The clouds were gone from the sky and even the dirt driveway was its pale color once again. Even the drought smell had returned. But everything had changed. The once anxious plants were now at peace, relaxing in their water soaked beds and contentedly smiling at the sun.

And that horsefly was gone.

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