When the rains came

Here in Texas, like so many parts of the world, it has been hot and dry. Each day it's 105, 106, 104, 107. You don't check the weather as you know it will be hot, it's only a matter of degree.

With the heat there has been no rain and our town has water restrictions. So the grass is yellow and the garden has come to rest. The tomato plants died. Then the zucchini. Then the eggplant. The herbs and some pepper plants remain, as well as some sweet potatoes resting deep in the warm earth.

Then, glory of glories: this week we had a very brief rain shower, ten minutes of heavenly liquid pouring on the parched earth. I held my face up to the rain and drank and drank it in. This poem came to me while I was praising that glorious rain.

Sometimes, while laying in bed, I weep for the earth and for the ways we've destroyed our home. I weep for the animals and the plants. I weep for my own frailty and for the ways it can be so hard for all of us to get along.

Perhaps the next time I weep for the earth I'll lay on her dirt skin and let my tears fall into her soil. My Sufi sheikh would always say that rain is a sign of mercy, for nothing grows without rain. I always think of this mercy when it rains. May it pour.

When the rains came

After seven weeks of heat and seven weeks

of drought the grass is withered and yellow.

The sunflowers are husks of their former selves

but the herbs continue in their aromatic ways.

In the soft evening light you weave your hands

through the lavender throngs and breathe them

into your skin.

Last night, O Holy Night, it rained. The skies

greyed and the metallic scent of water arose.

You opened your face to the sky and let

the water come, soaking your skin. It was

ten minutes of wet to water seventy thousand

minutes of heat.

Your heart has felt as dry as the brittle

grass. It feels like seventy thousand minutes

have passed since you were last watered.

Sometimes the rain comes for minutes when

you want to be soaked to the bone.

You understand now why your ancestors

prayed for rain. They prayed as if their

lives depended on it, and they often did.

So let us pray: Come rain, soften us. Crack

our dry ground. Help us to remember that

even in the desert we can feel the scent of

water. Even in drought we can feel the hint

of rain.

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