Avoiding meltdown, in 3… 2… 1…

So far, this has been a wretched summer with epic heat. Enervating record-breaking triple-digit heat that fuels scattered short-lived afternoon storms wherein even the raindrops are hot. Hot steamy rain that saturates the air and leaves it so thick you feel as if you might drown on the next deep breath.

It’s making me cranky.

Today was unusual. Today a “cold” front passed through and not only did it rain, it rained all afternoon. Thick clouds thwarted the sun’s intensity and the outdoor temp dropped into the mid-70s. And stayed there for hours. It was dark and gloomy and I didn’t even bother to turn on lights, just basked in the dim filter of day-long dusk and enjoyed it. Because tomorrow, and every day next week and every day the week after and every damn day for the next two months, is forecast to be back into the upper 90s, flirting with 100.

I hate summer in the South. It is pure relentless wilting misery and I hate it with a passion.

But it occurs to me that complaining about the heat just makes it seem worse. So let’s think about a different time. And a different kind of rain. A rain that felt cool and refreshing and life affirming. Yes, we do have that kind of rain down here. In fact, I wrote about it a couple years ago and am re-posting it today — mostly because I like it but also because I’m focused on other writing just now (please forgive the repetition).

I hope it will be a nice break from the stifling heat of summer and that you all can let your imagination wander to a quiet moment on a cool weekend morning when I paused to enjoy a . . .

Rainy day in spring

It is dark and raining here this morning. The kind of hard heavy steady rain that says, pay attention, and no matter what you thought you were going to do, you stop and listen instead. Too many drops to count, yet you can hear the rhythm of each one. The small steady slap of it on the roof and leaves and street, the music of it running fast through eaves and downspouts, in the fleeting splash of a car driving by.

A quick gust of wind waves dense leafy branches through the flow, disrupting the steady downward path, diverting drops like a hand testing the temperature of a shower. The gust moves on and the thick drops fall harder, crowding together in a pale gray sheet.

The back door is open and the smell of wet comes through the screen. Sodden chlorophyll and damp ground, giving up the hot sweat of the past week’s growth, rinsing off leaves and bark and blades of grass to run down the slope of the next yard to the creek, filling the air with the ripe earthy scent.

The torrent is timeless and ageless, full of significance yet devoid of meaning. The rain is all there is. No crackle of lightning or rumble of thunder. Nothing moves under the onslaught, there are no other sounds, only the steady soaking drum of the rain. And you are still, listening.

The gloom lifts slowly as the rain tapers off, the symphony ending not with a crescendo but a soft reprise as a cool damp breeze gently teases small drops down in a light patter from the high branches where they linger. There is movement in an upstairs bedroom and you recall the tasks at hand.

Soon the air is redolent with the smell of freshly sliced melon and frying bacon. Outside, the birds resume their springtime songs.


Filed under miscellaneous bits

16 responses to “Avoiding meltdown, in 3… 2… 1…

  1. It’s making me cranky.

    Um… wasn’t there supposed to be a ‘more’ in that sentence? 😉


  2. BTW, if you weren’t such a kind, understanding, compassionate friend who lives three thousand miles away I would never say such a thing. It’s ’cause I like ya 🙂


  3. I am narrowing my eyes in your general direction, young lady.

    Also? I’ve heard it’s perpetually cold not hot where you live. At this point in the summer, I’d need very little, as opposed to more [ahem], motivation to visit.


  4. Mmm. I love your rain description. I’ve stood out in rain like that, played live-action roleplaying games in it too. And even though most games had decent weather, there’s something about that sort of rain that reminds me of playing.

    Hope you feel refreshed enough to survive some more heat. Steamy air is hard to think in.


  5. I asked you to come out and visit! You refused, on the petty pedantic persnickety grounds that the place was going to be overrun with 47,325 other friends of yours and the only remaining sleeping space was a 3 x 2 space next to the refrigerator. Heck, horses can sleep standing up. You’re telling me that horses are more adaptable than you are? Is that it?


  6. Thanks, Jaleh, glad you liked it. I wonder what my kids would have thought if, instead of making breakfast, I’d gone out and played in the rain that morning. Hmmm…

    But, Merry, I don’t have 47,325 friends. Are you sure those weren’t fleas? 8) Probably ANY creature is more adaptable than I am. I’m cranky and set in my ways and pretty much a certified (certifiable?) hermit. If it weren’t for the internet, I’d never get out at all.


  7. Did I never mention to you that a mere English Major might not be so good at that math stuff? It might have only been 15 friends, fleas not included. (Batteries not included either, but let’s not go there. No, really.)


  8. Melinda

    Ah, I feel all refreshed now! What a lovely description. In self defense I’ve been going back over all the photos I took of our “snowmageddon” in Philly. Oh, how I hated it at the time. And now, here in Texas in 107 degrees, how I long for that 2 feet of snow! Just never happy, am I?! What I wouldn’t give for a rain shower right now. It thinks about raining, but you can hear it sizzling in the air before it even hits the ground. Pretty sure even the cactus are crying “Uncle!” at this point.


  9. Adrienne

    As a fellow Southron, I have to agree that this kind of unrelenting heat breeds irritability. Especially when it is so blazingly hot that the kids can’t play outside. Nobody wins in that situation. Except maybe the power company.


  10. Very evocative! I have passed cranky (although it may resurface at any irritant) and have subsided into sullen resentment.

    But we only have about 8 more weeks to go!


  11. Now I’m wondering about those batteries, Merry…

    Melinda, I grew up in Minnesota and I really don’t miss those winters. Except in the summer.

    Adrienne, I don’t even want to know the amount of my electric bill last month. Or next month.

    EIGHT MORE WEEKS? Diane, why does that sound like an eternity? (she asked in a tone of sullen resentment).

    Really, I don’t know why it can’t be 72 and sunny every day, with a nice gentle breeze, and lows in the 40s. Okay, maybe lows in the 50s. I can’t wait for fall weather. In the meantime, you all try to stay cool!


  12. McB

    Let’s try this again.

    I remember this post. In fact it sprang to mind a few days ago, after we’d had a hard rain. Your phrase “sodden chlorophyll” popped right into my head. Very apt.

    Merry, your neighbors just thought that was 47,000 people in your backyard. Or maybe that was you when you did a grocery run.


  13. McB, you actually remembered something I wrote? Just out of the blue? That’s one of the nicest things you’ve ever said to me. Well, except for that time we were on a road trip to Mexico except we ended up in Canada and then got stopped by Mounties, which as I’m sure you remember was NOT my fault, and you very nicely offered to let– um, hmmm, maybe we’d better not talk about that.

    Seriously, thanks.


  14. C.J.

    This heat is far worse than last year. Of course, I say that every year.
    To make it that much more fun — the air conditioning is broken in my soccer mom minivan. Now who’s hurting? 🙂
    October? Where are you?


  15. Come to Southern California. The weather is always gorgeous here!


  16. California?! Earthquake country? After feeling the tremors of the VA earthquake today, I think I’ll stay put here where the earth rarely moves. That was way too weird for me.

    CJ, hope things have cooled off a bit for you, as they have here this week. Smelly soccer players and their dirty sweaty equipment are not a good thing when combined with a non-air-conditioned van.