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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Relieving the drought in me

October 11, 1980

            It rains with rage, uproarious anger slapping at the sun-baked ground so nothing absorbs at first, bubbling water rushing down the river back to cut deep wounds in its side.
            The rain drops batter the leaves above me, leaves that offer me only temporary refuge before I know I will become soaked.
            On the dock and nearby slabs of concrete, the rain hits so hard it sizzles as if hot, flushing out the six foot balls so that they look like falls again after a long summer’s trickle.
            Below it, the gush strikes the river stones with fury, as the sky above cracks with flashes of lightning and rumbles with the roaring thunder, the sky coughing up the dry phlegm the drought left as rain stirs dust into mud at my feet.
            Each leaf-clogged gully fills with clear water, which pushing down tiny dams left by twigs and litter, and these finally flow into the ravished slow water eddied below, stirring them up like stew.
            I see no catfish now or carp. Yet I can feel their stirring out from under the deeper mud to which they had taken refuge during the worst part of the drought.
            The whole thing is as intoxicating as wine, wet air felling my lungs to replace the dry air I have spent the summer breathing, flushing out the dust from me the way the gushing gullies do from the river bank.
            Even the arches of the bridge look more dignified now that water has risen to cover the brown stains at their shins.
            Old men huddle under the overhang of Service Diner’s roof to stare out at the riving river upstream, the puff of their expelled cigarette smoke foreshadowing the frosted breath each will breathe when this season finally changes into the next and the river at our feet turns to ice.
            Suddenly, in celebration of this renewed world, silver fish leap out of the brown surface of deeper water, entertaining the dusk and geese who have already fed on cracked corn near the bridge, too sated to worry about eating – yet.
            Something dark stirs in the brittle reeds on the far side of the reed, too remote in the still dim light for me to make out.
            I sip my coffee and wait for the worst of the downpour to pass, a mere formality since I cannot get much wetter than I already am, glad for the rain that some relieves the drought in me as well.

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