Don’t misunderstand me. We need rain spring, summer and fall too, but winter rain is a blessing beyond measure. In a land that hasn’t seen measurable rain for months, we are overjoyed. Oklahoma is in the third year of a crippling drought. Only yesterday, I was lamenting the dark red color in the middle of the Climatological Survey Map for Oklahoma for January, 2013.
I live where extreme drought has reigned supreme the last couple of years, and it’s been hard to maintain my passion for all things that grow.
Yesterday, local meteorologists forecast rain, but they couldn’t agree on how much we would get. We’ve heard it all before. Last month, a small spitting here and there, but the atmosphere was so dry, real moisture never materialized. Weary and dusty Oklahomans just stopped talking about the weather. At Christmas, my Aunt Della asked if she should even try to plant anything this spring. The disappointment of two hot and dry summers showed in her face, and I had nothing to say.
Last night, after book club, I came home, and my husband was in bed pointing to the skylights over his head. Droplets of water pooled upon the surface. It had started raining after I walked into the house. We ran outside on the covered deck to listen to raindrops falling against the roof and upon the fallen leaves. The air remained warm and moist, and I left the door open as I read a novel long into the night.
As I read, I also tracked a line of storms on my phone. Through an app called My-Cast, I could see the storms forming over New Mexico and begin marching our way. Those same storms could be a mirage once they reached Oklahoma’s border. Hope prayed, but experience said don’t bet on an unsure thing.
This morning, the air was still moisture kissed, and the atmosphere felt pregnant and heavy as a woman in her ninth month. I took Bear to school, and once I hit Guthrie, the rain began to fall in sheets that landed across my windshield wipers. Bear and I were a bit surprised at all the liquid falling from the skies. The rain so amazed our local news stations that they preempted the national news and just talked about the weather all morning. News 9 even called in seasoned meteorologist, Gary England, to discuss tornado watches.
It was funny and sweet and a little sad. My mom, who lives forty-five minutes south and west of me, called and said she heard thunder. Her voice echoed that of a small child on Christmas day. Who could blame her?
These storms were odd. In the beginning, they moved from the south to the north. Only later did they behave normally traveling from west to east.
This morning’s thunder showers gave the Red Dirt Ranch 2.02 inches according to our little weather station. Yes, we own a La Crosse Atomic Weather Forecast station. Does that make us weird? Some parts of the state got more, and other parts got less. With my camera, I’ve tried to record the joy and jubilation a little moisture can bring to a dusty land. Of course, you can’t hear the birds calling to one another, or the squirrel scolding me for being absent from the garden too long.
Oklahomans are not foolish people. We know a few inches won’t break the drought’s stranglehold. We remember the Dust Bowl. Hell, my grandparents lived it. We also know to rejoice and say thanks when God sends a little something to raise our spirits. Today, it rained. We are standing in tall cotton, and it feels grand.