I Love the Rain

Monday, July 12, 2010 3:30pm

When I was about five my parents bought property outside of town. It was a staggeringly beautiful place to grow up, and our water came from a well. There was generally lots of water there, but not always. When we had had no rain for a while, we had no water. I remember my father walking through the house with buckets of water to flush the toilet, and Mom giving us “spit baths” with a  single basin of water. Being a nurse, she was good at that. All the water we had at any given time was what was in two large, newly-purchased 30-gallon trash cans. When they ran out, my father would drive away to get water “from town.” (It is only at this moment that I wonder if he got it from work, or from a friend, or if there was a public water source for all the people who had no water.)

It only got that bad one summer, but every summer we were careful, even after Mom had a new well dug and a 1000-gallon water tank installed. Mom always knew how much water was in that tank. She was always insistent that we be careful with water. Even in the wettest seasons we knew better than to let a faucet run while we brushed out teeth. But when that tank started to go down, instead of re-filling as we used it, we went into heavy conservation mode. Allowing water to run over your tooth brush only to go down the drain was suddenly unthinkable. One filled a cup with water, dropped a splash on the brush, used half the remaining water to rinse, and swished the tooth brush in the rest to clean it. We didn’t have to do that often, but we did do it.

A few years ago a heard someone talking about saving water by re-using “grey water.” That was old news for me. Mom washed dishes in basins in the sink so the water could be poured on plants if there was not too much soap in it. I don’t know when I learned that other people poured remaining coffee down the sink instead watering the house plants with it.

Water in my house was precious. I want to say it was liquid gold, but gold could hardly be worth as much in August. Water was a precious as … water.   And so I grew up loving rain. Rain in comforting, safe, and when it falls steadily and gently, it is peaceful.  Sadly, I now live in a place that is classified as “semi-arid.” Not a desert, but still dry. Though I don’t miss humidity and its child, mildew, I do miss the rain and the fog. Now I when I watch the rain in the spring I wonder if this will be the last rain until fall, or will there be another. There is a public water system for irrigation only (not safe for drinking) that is turned on when the officials decide we have had our last rain until fall.

The other day my uncle said the  thing, “It’s getting so hot, it’s gotta rain soon!” He wasn’t so much hoping for rain as expecting it, as though the heat somehow makes the rain come. Other people have said similar things. “Boy, I sure hope it rains soon and cools us off!”

The rain did come, and the temperature did go down. It was a long, steady, peaceful rain. I sat on the porch, read my Kindle, and listened to the rain.

And not one person joined me to celebrate the wonder of rain in July.

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