gardening, spiritual life

A not-thirsty land

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” Bill Watterson, American cartoonist

It is morning and it is raining, the puddles outside the window looking more like September than high summer. The same weather system that is keeping parts of America bone dry has sent a conveyor belt of summer storms to Appalachia in the last four to five years. The sporadic deadly flooding side of our weather is what makes the news, but the change also plays out on a daily scale.

Neighborhood dads practically sprint for their mowers if there is so much as a half-day break in the weather. Last week, a business trip caused my husband to miss one such gap. The rotary mower (that I’m no longer strong enough to push given the thickness of the lawn) couldn’t handle the job. He weed whacked the entire backyard.

House painters, stymied for at least four years, seem to have given up this summer. One house that was partly painted during a week-long dry spell last fall remains partly painted — one side finished, two untouched and the last spotted with primer.

Boating parties can still make it to the neighborhood grocery story. A tributary to the Ohio River that usually runs dry in patches this time of year is so swollen, boaters pull their kayaks onto the grass at the edge of the parking lot, leave them in the care of a raucous band of ducks, and go in for ice cream or Starbucks or whatever.

It’s odd, isn’t it, how changing weather, changing climate affects living things so differently? Some too dry. Some too wet. Some too close to water. Some too far away. We drag our feet against such weatherly-climate changes, with our rotary mower and our tiny cars and so on. We do our best to dig in our heels against the downward spiral of moral climate, too.

Do we really have any choice? Whether we’re bleaching the mildew off our porch walls in Appalachia or converting our toilets to salt-water flushes on Catalina Island, we simply must have hope in God. Hope. It’s water in a thirsty land. Sunshine in a not-thirsty one. It’s ice cream on a creek bank and a strong string trimmer. Hope and God will see us through whatever is ahead.


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