Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rain, rain, beautiful rain

This summer has been so oppressive; I've felt like a shut-in. Since moving to Arkansas, I've experienced hot, but this has been over-the-top hot. It has been deathly hot. Since the heat began in May, there have been only a handful of upper 90º days. The rest have been well over 100º. In the past 24-hours though, we have had a reprieve--a tiny respite from the dry, triple-digit heat. 
AR - Little Rock region
Rain is over for us now,
but more could be coming!!!
We have watched the radar with laser-like intensity, holding our breaths and feeling hopeful whenever any green color appeared anywhere in the vicinity of our state. For most of the summer, there has been no color on the map whatsoever. Meteorologists say we have been beneath a dome of high pressure that is too strong to allow any moisture to penetrate it. At times, a front would move through or the jet stream would cause a shift in the upper level atmosphere, allowing for rain to form. So often we watched it come oh, so close, but never make it to our house. I was starting to wonder if we didn't have some kind of anti-rain device installed on our roof. 

I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky in a way. Many of the areas that received rain this summer also had accompanying destructive winds. There was lots of damage because of strong storms. Nevertheless, it was disheartening as we watched clouds form and then come close only to disappear. I could look out the window one minute and even hear thunder, only to watch it all dissipate right before my eyes.

This was our last really good rain--April 16th!
All that green in this picture is now brown and dry!
I've experienced hot and humid summers, but never such dry heat. This is unlike anything I've ever felt. While the mornings and evenings were somewhat cool, the heat during the day was so extreme that it burned every living thing in the plant world. Even with watering, the excessive drought we have been experiencing has done little to keep precious plants alive. I am hoping they are just dormant and not dead. 

Then yesterday afternoon, the radar showed rain, one little line of what the weathermen called monsoonal rain that originated in the Pacific ocean. It traveled from the southwestern states in an arc up to Colorado and around, then back down--right to our house. The rain was very gentle, and at times was no more than a spitting from the heavens. But at other times, it was a good, steady downpour. Because of the day of cloud cover, the temperature cooled to a comfortable 79º. I was able to open a window,. Hearing the rain was therapy for a severe case of rain deprivation. It felt like Spring! I felt the same kind of jubilation after it started to rain as I feel during springtime, my favorite season of the year.

Almost as soon as the rain began, the tree frogs started to sing. The forest awoke for the first time in so long. A more jubilant melody came from the birds.

When I awoke this morning, I couldn't see out of the windows. With the air conditioning cooling the inside of the house and the hot humid air outside, the windows were completely opaque. I stepped outside and it was raining, ever so lightly. The air was thick with moisture. The rain has stopped for now, but the radar shows more moisture on the map. I hope it follows a similar course. We have been missed all summer and really could use it. We planted some small trees earlier this year. They have lost all their leaves, despite our keeping them watered, I fear they will not survive.

None of my flowers are alive, despite my keeping them watered too. The deer have had nothing to eat, so they have been attracted to the green succulent stems and leaves from my geraniums, hostas, coral bells, petunias, and others. Even those on our front porch have been discovered by mama deer and her fawns. We've seen them munching on flowers and drinking out of the bird baths that we have worked hard to keep full and cooled. I couldn't stop them. Poor dears had nothing else to eat. We've had to bring in all our bird feeders because during the night, the marauding beasts seemingly followed the deer path to our front door. They didn't just eat, they were destructive. I hope they are somewhat happier now and perhaps some of my plants will recover.

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