Friday, October 29, 2010

And Finally, Rain

It’s was like one of those cheap drama movies where there is a roll of thunder and then the bottom drops out of the sky, and it rains. Rain? We haven’t had a good solid rain in over two months now. I’ve raised a very good crop of weeds and dust and anyone who isn’t irrigating their lawns has been doing the same thing. It’s late in the year for green things, but we haven’t had any real cold weather, so it’s still time to have some plant life of some sort, and late greens gardens. But there has been no rain at all to speak of, and we were beginning to wonder.
I haven’t attacked the weeds with the mower since the first part of September and I wasn’t going to again until it rained. The dust is just too much to deal with for what little good I do this place with a mower. Leaves have covered what grass there is, and I suspect my neighbors wonder if I’ve died in here. But the dryness isn’t as fatal to people as it has been to everything else. There is usually an explosion of late Summer and early Autumn flowers, but this year it’s been more like a sigh. No rain means no plants life and this late in the year, that means nearly everything that depends on the cycle of life being completed, has seen it halt.
Not only has the weather been dry but it has been unusually hot, also. The temperature has hovered around 90 for the last month or so for a high, and it hasn’t dipped down into the low fifties since that cool snap last month. Those insects whose lives are shortened by the cool weather are still here. My last wasp nest is still occupied, and the last dregs of that once proud air force are still threatening me when I pass.  I took several photos of the nest in High Summer, and there were always sixty or so wasps on it. The face of the paper nest was nearly black with bodies, wings at high alert, and pointed at me, as the next victim of the aerial defense system.  This isn’t the largest nest I’ve ever seen, but it is one of the longest lasting. Slowly but surely the attrition of dryness, the lack of prey, and the cool nights have reduced the force down to a dozen or so. The eggs are not hatching, or the fliers not living as long, or food not available, or maybe they are just designed to die out at this time of year, I cannot say.
The Wasp Wars were fierce this year, and I have no idea why. A dozen or so attempts at nest building on the front porch had to be put down, and if you remember, the one nest I allowed loved in peace with me until they grew to be so many they decided they could take me out. I went to work with many red spots atop of me bald head, and thoughts of vengeance brewing underneath the swelling.
It’s over now, as many conflicts are, and I wonder how many arguments I have had with humans that have resulted in a season passed and no more need for the argument than there was three months prior. Of course, I had to remove the wasps, or start leaving the house via the window, but I wonder why we have no yet found a way to peace with these creatures, if there was some chemical we might wear that would identify us as part of their world, and they would no longer view us as hostile. There isn’t a human avenue towards this sort of friendship with wasps, but the shelves are stocked full of poisons.
It’s the same philosophy as the wasps have; kill or be killed, drive away all who are not us, and reproduce blindly those who will do the same. We haven’t evolved away from this, despite everything we lay claim to being. Despite who we might think we are, the rain is still needed, and the sunlight still sustains us, and we are as blind as flying insects when we kill them. There isn’t any other way because we’ve never seen the reason, the logic, in coexistence with other creatures who we cannot eat, or love.
The slow steady rain has continued while I write. There is a cool moist breeze coming into the house from an open window and the sound of the rain, gentle but steady, shadows my thoughts. This isn’t one of the Sumer’s pop up showers, or one of the winter storms, but a gift from nature in the form of water that needed to fall in a place that desperately needed it. Random, perhaps, unseeing, unknowing, rain, with thunder that would still shake the rain from leaves were there no humans to hear it or to fear it but rain.

Only mid afternoon now, twelve hours opposite of the Writer’s Hour, the cloudy sky hides a sun already slipping out of the top of the sky. Were this July, or if this were August, the sun might come out and turn the rain into a white hot fog, suitable for Dragon’s Breath, or perhaps a reminder that Summer still held sway. But this rain cools, and it refreshes. It is a sigh of relief from the dryness that has gripped us. It is a sign of coming cooler weather, and it is a feeling we have not had in a while now. Summer’s last tendrils, sunk deep into very soul of the air around us, are slipping away with the rain. Leaves have been falling for a while now, because of the sun’s retreat, and because of the dryness, but it has been a slow transition. Like the last slow trickle of rain from the room of the house as the rain stops sometime tonight, the last warm weather will go with it, and I already miss it.

Take Care,
Mike

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