Updated: Mar 24, 2021
As the August sun rose on the homestead, the air was already ripe with the smell of hot world: The familiar scent of dusty pathways on my way to the greenhouse, the stinging odor of sticky asphalt as I crossed the road to the milking parlor, the acrid aroma of hot cow and hot self. These August days test the mettle of our homestead souls as we push to finish out the last searing weeks of the growing season. This is a crucial time for the heat-loving plants as they come into full production, but keeping things wet is vital. Plants, animals, and homesteaders all just hang on--waiting for a break in the weather.
I milked our main milk cow, Sweet Alyssum, this morning to the symphony of flies and hornets buzzing around the cow pen. Cicadas were piercing the air with their relentless tone. The day dawned cloudlessly, another hot morning after another hot night. The persistent heat is stretching the nerves of both man and beast, and Lissy made me acutely aware of the fact by kicking like a Rockette every chance she got. I can’t really blame her.
In the afternoon the clouds began to build behind the ridge as they have every day this week: thunder with no rain. The air became heavy. Thick. Walking from one chore to another felt like an impossible task. We marked off the work left on the day’s list: water the squash, check the animals, harvest ripe tomatoes and cucumbers, check the animals again. Shadow--the shepherd and lab mix who adopted me--is my constant companion in garden tasks, but this afternoon she was anxious. Fretful. She sensed the barometric change that was oppressing us all.
And then--oh, what relief!--it broke. After days of dry heat and thunder, the clouds unburdened their billowing souls in sweet rain. Huge drops splashed on the pavement, made rivulets through the dust, beaded up on the thick Dexter/Jersey coats of the cows. Leaves on the corn channeled streams of water to their roots and oaks bounced and shimmered under the torrent.
Moments like that one remind me how closely we are tied to the land and cycles of the earth. Like the creatures under our care, we feel the rhythms of the seasons, the thirst of the earth, and the relief when blessing comes in the form of heavenly water. Shadow and I ran through the yard, becoming intentionally drenched. My bare feet in puddles up to my ankles, I let water run off my braid and down my back.
In an hour the storm was gone, but it had made the world new and was evidenced everywhere in the glistening beads it left behind. Tomorrow will be hot and bright again, but we will face it with renewed strength and trust it to the Lord of the storm.