Another Day in the Country
Waiting for the storm
© Another Day in the Country
It’s that time of year on the prairie — windy all week long. The blow-your-hat-off, sting-your-eyes, move-you-off-the-road kind of wind.
And suddenly the wind stops. The air is hot and muggy. We all know the signs of an impending storm.
In anticipation of bad weather, I picked arms full of peonies. The weather forecast said hail. I know what wind and rain do to peonies and iris — but hail?
I’m glad the tomatoes in my garden are small, which means a smaller target for hail to hit.
I bring in the lawn chairs that are plastic and tend to blow over, take flower pots off pedestals, and batten down the hatches. I’ve done all I can to prepare for the storm.
Sitting down outside is a rarity. Usually, I’m planting, mowing, or pulling weeds. However, now, I sit myself down on the porch swing to wait for the storm.
Sitting so quiet induces long thoughts.
This is what getting old feels like, I decide as I rock back and forth.
You find yourself waiting, somehow, in quiet moments — mostly at night, when sleep won’t come. You know the end of your life is coming, like a storm. You do all you can to prepare but you don’t know exactly when it will hit.
Will it be soft and gentle like spring rain, or will death arrive like a tornado going through Oklahoma — one minute you’re there and the next the ground is licked clean.
These thoughts aren’t maudlin; they’re just fact. We don’t live forever. Life has its seasons just as Kansas has its storms.
I hear giggles and squeals from across the street.
The neighbors’ grandkids are waiting for the storm, too.
Maddie rides her bike up and down the street. Her little brother pushes his smaller bike, running alongside it, his feet paddling the pavement instead of the pedals, and he’s going fast, keeping up with his sister.
The wind picks up. Suddenly the temperature is cooler. My neighbor herds her charges inside because the sky looks dark now. The storm is coming.
My cat is nervous.
Skeeter hates storms. She is hinting that it is time to go inside, sitting beside the front door so she won’t miss her chance to be safely indoors.
Then I hear thunder in the distance — rumbling, complaining, growling behind the tumbling clouds. There are drops pinging on the gutter, splats on the sidewalk. Just a few.
Let it pass somewhere south of us, I mumble, but the clouds are moving this direction. The wind picks up. I can smell the moisture in the air.
I think beyond my lawn, my flowers, my chickens, my yard, and recall all those fields of hay not yet cut — or worse yet, hay already down. I think of the acres and acres of wheat just starting to turn and wonder how it will fare?
The thunder is closer now, and I decide it would be wise to go in and fix supper before the storm hits and electricity blinks and perhaps gets interrupted by tree limbs gone down somewhere.
While I hesitate to move, the rain begins in earnest — not spatters and spurts, but a steady drum on the roof. I take a deep breath and sigh in relief. This isn’t a storm. This is just spring rainfall.
There is something so delicious about sitting under the sheltering eaves of the porch while the rain comes straight down outside the roof’s perimeters. No wind to blow the rain sideways. No hail to shatter the peace. Not even thunder and lightening. Just rain.
Forget about supper. Forget about emergencies. Forget about storm warnings. Enjoy now!
There’s an opening in the sky as I look up. It’s still dark to the west, and there’s worrisome weather in the east. It’s menacing still from the south. But above, the sky is clearing.
And sure enough, this wave of weather has gone by, and in Ramona, the kids are back outside running in the street and the sun is trying to shine on another day in the country.