Waiting for Rain

PUF 2014 043

Where I come from bones are not dry. Bits of flesh cling to them, torn by hungry teeth. Bones are greasy, tasty, marrowful. They pile up in the center of the table in a big cracked bowl and the sturdy ones–the steak and pork chop bones–go to the always-hungry patient dogs.

The bones are slick with fat, proud armatures of Southern cuisine. But the land under my feet today was sharp in its dryness, the grass honey-colored and brittle. The gardens are watered nearly every evening but the grass must wait for the absent rain.

When the rain barrels are full, my watering can is generous to a fault, even the undying perennial herbs–the catnip, the sweet woodruff, the mountain mint–get a splash before the mulch goes around.

One rain barrel–a catchment one, not a storage one–is all but empty, holding its wide mouth wide in expectation of largesse from the roof. The blue storage barrels, sealed and cool, are being tapped now to keep the cucumbers growing, to sprout the new beans.

The weather spirits have teased us for a week now, darkening, setting thunder punching through the old sky, making promises they don’t keep. On the radio, we hear cheerful voices foretell sunny warm days, perfect weather.

Perfection would be three days of a slow-soaking rain, of carrying my crippled umbrella wherever I’m bound, just-in-case. Perfection would be full barrels blue and grey, and a week of not carrying cans of water to the peppers and tomatoes.

We wait and water, water and wait.

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