Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Return of Rain

  "The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again.
The plants suck in the earth, and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair."

-- Abraham Cowley,

After nearly a month without rain, and more than a month of 100-degree-plus temperatures, we awoke at 4:45 a.m. to a strange sound: rain!

It turns out that my husband had left the car windows open last night, so of course that's why it rained. If I'd realized that was better than a rain dance, we would have left them open earlier!

So after I ran out in the pouring rain and closed the car windows, we listened to the welcome patter of rain falling on the parched landscape, where streams had run dry and lawns have turned brown all over town. It rained for four straight hours! By the time we woke up this morning, our empty pond had filled up, the creek had overflown its banks, and everything was dripping wet with little pearls of water.

Almost the entire state of Texas is suffering from severe drought this summer, so this one rainstorm won't solve all our problems, but it brought wonderful relief after weeks and weeks of dry, deathly heat. Unfortunately, we endured 40 days of 100-degree-plus heat without even setting a new record! I was really rooting for Dallas to tie or break the old 1980 record of 42 days of 100 degrees in a row, but a silly cool front dropped down from Oklahoma two days ago and stopped us in our tracks at 40 days. What a cruel trick of Mother Nature to give us 40 days of 100+ heat and then make it 97 on Day 41! So this summer ends up in the record books as the second-hottest summer of recorded history. However, we have set some other heat records this year.

I guess I'm happy we don't live in Wichita Falls, which has been in triple digits for about 52 days and has shattered its previous heat record.

After baking in the relentless heat for weeks on end, our yard and plants eagerly drank up this morning's rain, and the heat index dipped about 30 degrees, making it actually pleasant to be outside! The rain cleaned the dust off our cars, filled our birdbath and formed reflecting pools on the street.

When the rain evaporated, it got really humid. But the respite from dry heat was nice while it lasted.

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