It is raining outside. Yesterday I bought two trays of flower starts thanks to a sale at our local nursery, and perhaps somewhat foolishly (and optimistically) decided right away to put them in the ground. Rain was in the forecast. Surely it would be all right.
But as I loosened the soil to make pockets for the salvia, hypoestes, zinnias, mimulus, phlox, allysum, lobelia, and begonia the wind blew roughly and the soil moved through my fingers dry as sand. Now and then I’d have to pause and close my eyes to keep the dirt from flying into them; even so, there were times when I missed anticipating the dusty gust and had to gently wipe the corners. Poor little flowers! I suppose I should have stopped right then. Sometimes I get so determined and just keep going when I ought to reassess and redirect.
While the heat, despite the lack of rain, has been coaxing the peonies and irises towards heavy, just-about-to-burst budding, that hot, dry wind is one of the reasons I do not terribly miss Colorado (apologies to all my favorite people there, and horses. I do miss you). Such a wind isn’t an especially common thing in the Midwest, just the result of this dry spell, something we expect will pass. With each little cluster of transplants in their places I gave them a good watering, yet the few times when I went back to relocate a few of them I discovered that beneath that top wet layer the earth was still dry, dry, dry. I rewatered and sort of wished/prayed that they would find the moisture they needed.
The sky to the West had that promising slate blue-gray, one of my favorite colors, and yet a tantalizing one. The one where you’re watching for rain. I looked west often, but the rain didn’t come. I sowed in some cornflower seeds, watered everything one last time, and went inside to make dinner. Checked weather.com. Listened to occasional growlings. Tassie and I sat on the porch as the darkness came on and blinked at the great flashes of sheet lightning to the West and the North. The winds were calmer, but still restless, blowing in different directions. Uneasy. Everything was waiting.
I tried to go to sleep at 9:30, like a good girl, but I kept listening for the rain. I had my window open a crack and when the first few smatterings came I went pattering down the stairs with the dog close behind. We sat on the porch again, but those first spits were only that. Spits. A bit of dampness, and fireflies flitting around to make me smile like a ten-year-old. All right, then. I really must go to sleep.
This morning meant the most quietly satisfying way of waking up. Pale gray skies and a luscious, cool, wet breeze through the window. Mm. A quenched earth. A morning for coffee, and a lit candle. But first, a barefoot walk on the same grass that scratched my feet yesterday. It is cool and soft today. The flowers stand bright and colorful in the garden and several have already put forth new blooms. About an hour ago the sky decided to give even more, and now I can hear the rain smacking the porch and sliding down the gutters. Tassie and I dashed about it in for a few moments. I grinned at my garden as if I had given it a gift. But the gift is not from me; it is nature herself, this amazing, systematic, mysterious, ecological being, doing what she does. How lucky I am to live here, where she makes everything so green. How determined I am to better learn to her ways and to act within them, so that it becomes less a conscious decision and more a way of life. So that I will know, without even having to think about it, that I am made of dust. And quenched with rain.