Dry Spell

I have been experiencing a bit of a dry spell lately. I haven’t really felt the urge to write – although I have sat down with my notebook on numerous occasions. I think it’s to do with the fact that it’s the summer season at the farm (busy!), and because it’s so HOT. (How many weeks has it been in the 90s?)

Then there’s the daily wild card of the pandemic, and how to navigate all the conflicting information, the politics, even as we do our best to respect each other and keep each other safe.

Which is why I welcome the glorious distraction of a good thunderstorm.  There’s nothing like a dramatic storm in the middle of a heatwave to bring you into the present moment. Nature is good at this, if you allow yourself to pay attention.

I’ve spent several evenings on the porch, barn kittens playing at my feet, watching the dark gray clouds march in from the west and south. The sudden crack of thunder like a gunshot makes me jump. I feel it in my chest. Thunder rolls across the sky, and back, the way music through headphones moves back and forth. Lightning spears down, or races horizontally across the clouds, or sometimes zig-zags in all directions, like an electric web, like being inside a giant plasma ball.

Storms are not this exciting in California.

I can hear the wind rush through the woods across the pasture toward me, and the temperature drops. Finally, rain splats on the walkway, the edges of the porch planks, picks up force, then slants itself sideways to find me, chasing me back inside the house. Through the window, I see chickens down by the barn running this way and that, unable to decide: Inside or outside? Cats huddle behind flower pots and porch furniture, or slink off to disappear under the porch. The cows wait patiently beneath the trees by the fence, while the geese stand motionless in the driveway, letting it drench, occasionally shaking their feathers.

Eventually the rain rights itself and falls steadily on the earth, giving the soil, plants and trees – and my soul – a good soak.