Ah, blessed rain. After weeks of a morning routine that included hand-watering of the shrubs and trees planted this Spring, the rains have come. The crepe myrtle and redbud and curly willows drank deeply these past two nights.
I was beginning to wonder. The Baron noted last weekend on his trip to Morgantown that there had been no rain during the stretch over the mountains; a most unusual phenomenon that didn’t portend well for us further east of the Appalachians.
So this past week continued dry. The grass crunched under my feet and the flowers drooped in the noonday heat. Even the morning glories cut back on their blooming. Whatever the Japanese beetles hadn’t turned to lace — large sections of the grape vines and many high branches on the apple trees — was becoming sere and withered in the unremitting dry southern summer. Water evaporated so quickly that one of the morning chores had been to clean and fill the bird bath. Even the shaded figs were beginning to lose their unripe fruit while the grapes refused to grow past the size they’d reached weeks ago.
And then…sturm and drang. A lovely, wondrous storm complete with window rattling thunder and sheets or rain blowing against the windows. The lights flickered and died, the clocks flashed. For once the flashlight was were it belonged and by the time we’d gotten out the candles and matches, the electricity returned. The storm wailed on and on, continuing its drama well past bedtime.
But that’s not a complaint, Mother Nature! I loved the sound of the rain on the tin roof over the bedroom. And the dahlias and zinnias and pink coreopsis and boltonia and astilbe and balsam and daisies and snapdragons all sing your praise. The nasturtiums, however, asked me to let you know your gift arrived too late for them, but never mind. The basil said you’re on probation. But not I, Mother M, no complaints here. Like the roses, I thank you from the bottom of my green, green heart.
One quote I repeat often (and repetition is a privilege of age, one of the best prerequisites of accumulating time) is from Isaak Dinesen. She said that there are three times it is possible to know happiness: the first is the cessation of pain, the second is when you bring an excess of energy to whatever task is at hand, and the third is when you know absolutely that you are doing the will of God. I’ve only ever experienced the first two, though it’s quite possible that marrying the Baron fell into the third category. For both of us. The cessation of one of summer’s long dry interludes most certainly belongs to the first category, particularly if you’re a gardener.
Life never seems so sweet as it does when, after a long parched spell, the water gauge in the garden reads 2.6 inches. That is the essence of pleasure. Or one of them.