Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Rains Came (Finally)

We have been baking in the nation's heartland.

Most know this already, at least in some way. Most have read about the intense heat. But my dad and his wife excepting (who experience extreme hear in central Texas each summer), it's hard to fully appreciate how hot it has been here this summer, when you break out in a full sweat in a matter of a few paces. Most have read about the drought gripping Iowa and the agricultural belt. But it's hard to fully appreciate how dry it has been unless (again, excepting my dad and his wife, who endured an epic drought last fall) you see swaths of grass gone brown and expanses of corn fields turn from aspiring, green shoots to withered, tan stalks. It's a real eye opened, I tell you.

It just hasn't rained here.

That is, until today, when we got a real doozy of a storm.

I was at our new house, bagging all the leaves, sticks (I never knew there could be so many sticks in one place.) and yard debris. It was late morning, and humid. It had rained a little on and off for a half-hour, but considering how much we need, it was more the sky spitting in our eye than delivering anything substantive. I had started to think this would be another day of promise unfulfilled, when I looked to the west. The sky had turned green, and it grew completely still, nary a breath of air.

I knew something was coming, so I began to collect the lawn bags and take them into the garage. Within minutes, the storm hit, a freight train of thunder, lightning, wind and pounding rain. It was downright awesome in its intensity. I rushed around the yard like a fool, collecting the yard implements, then sprinting to my car to roll up the windows, then dashing into the house to close the storm windows.

Then I waited in the dark when the power went out.

Michelle, meanwhile, was at her mother's and sister's house experiencing much the same. Except while I dealt with gushing water and gusty winds, Michelle watched with some degree of horror as 70-mph winds sheared off huge limbs from the maple tree just behind the house, blew lawn chairs and jettisoned branches like javelins against the windows. It must've been a little like being in nature's war zone.

Ten minutes later, the storm belt had passed. But even in that short time, it dropped 1 1/2 inches of precious water on the soil and crops. I think we got more in our little town.

Scary? Yes, a little. But more than worth it.

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