We had a good rain yesterday afternoon and it made it quite comfortable on the porch this morning. It’s become unusual to have thunderstorms for several days in a row during July, but there’s still a chance we may get some today. The yard, the flowers, and my tomato and pepper plants are jumping up and done for joy (okay, not literally…). There’s something about God’s watering that far exceeds anything I can do with the garden hose.
Following my divorce, the boys and I moved back to Texas at the end of 1986. I went to work as a Field Engineer for the company my dad had gone to work for after he took early retirement from the railroad. He didn’t care much for retirement. I think it had to do with being at home with my mom all the time, but that’s another story…
It turned out that ‘Field Engineer’ was a fancy title for surveyor and gopher. My crew did everything from laying out huge warehouses and building roads to baling hay. It was quite a change from the real estate partnership I had in Denver. I often tell people I started at the top and worked my way to the bottom from there. Professionally, that’s not entirely true. It’s seriously accurate personally and spiritually, though. Some of you know what I mean. The rest of you will just have to wait for further information until another time. That isn’t what I was thinking about this morning…
I enjoyed the change from an office job to being in the field, except for the extremes of bone-chilling, windy, humid cold of winter and the brain-frying heat of summers spent on concrete slabs or roadways.
At least there was a brief break in the afternoons, even if cooler temperatures brought higher humidity. It seemed to rain for a brief while every day. Maybe I simply remember things different, but it seemed to rain almost every afternoon. It only could be euphoric recall, but I don’t think so.
We’d be working, often on a stretch of the interstate, and about 3:00 in the afternoon, the first puffs of clouds would appear in the northwest. On cue, the concrete guys would put plastic over any areas of wet concrete there may be. The clouds would slowly sneak across the sky, alone or in pairs, quietly conducting reconnaissance for the coming cumulonimbus army. About 3:30 or so, clouds began to gather on the horizon, forming massive thunderheads that seemed to reach for the stars. Once they formed an orderly line, the order was given, and they slowly started advancing to the east.
A welcome breeze would start as the clouds began their march. Soon, they would be closing in faster and faster, creating a breeze that became a cooling wind as they got closer. One by one, and then in groups, large raindrops hit the pavement and then the downpour would start. Some of the guys would run for cover. Others would keep working and soak up the rain like they were enjoying sitting in front of a fan for a bit, knowing that afternoon showers would march double-time across the Texas sky.
The thundershowers would only last for five or ten minutes or so, but they’d appear like clockwork, and we’d all enjoy a brief respite from the often triple-digit heat. It was the timeclock for our days, a reminder that soon we’d call it quits and find the comfort of air conditioning.
We don’t often have that kind of rain anymore. Rain is sporadic, at best, during North Texas summers and drought has become a regular fixture. I’ll refrain from all the various climate change arguments here. I have my own opinion and unfortunately, I only see the situation getting worse for my kids and grandkids. I’ll try to be a good steward of God’s creation and do my part to advocate and mitigate climate change. That’s my responsibility, whether anyone else does or not.
I really miss those rains, even if it’s just my imagination. I find that as I’ve gotten older, I tend to be more nostalgic and nostalgia isn’t always what we believe it to be. Still, I’m incredibly grateful for yesterday’s thundershower. I just may get some more homegrown tomatoes before Fall…