Everything is designed with a purpose in mind. A bed for rest. A knife to slice our bread. A toaster, butter, and strawberry preserves to sweeten the day. Tongues to taste, swallow, talk and sing. Bless and curse.

Fish, birds, and mammals feed on flies. Soil, rain, sun and wind grow our food and flowers. Grandmothers serve our favorite dessert.

We depend upon the clock, car keys, clothing– sports and art to influence our mood, remind us we’re mortal. To put the needle upon a record, listen to Hillary Hann play Bach, pull her bow of horsehair across four strings of catgut, fiber from a sheep’s insides.

Day in, day out, doors open and close. Our brains arrange twenty-six letters to inspire, teach, guide, forgive, debate, destroy and build myriad things.

Our AC runs and stops by the thermometer control on our living room wall. We drag the hose from gardens to trees and water, water, water from our well. I harvest red and black currants to compote for Thanksgiving’s turkey.

The weather vane on the hen house roof waits to spin its arrows pointing north-south, east-west, to announce rain is imminent. And when we hear thunder in the night, the rooster whirls this way and that. I lift my hands to Heaven and join in his rain dance.

For what is the purpose of a drought but to teach us to how to hunger and thirst–to be content without the color green and the bounty it brings?

Even though my husband’s weeded, composted, and watered the earth, our raspberry patch is bearing a skimpy crop again his summer. If a drenching rainfall doesn’t revive our fall-bearing plants, there’ll be few berries to consume on vanilla ice cream, and perhaps none to freeze for pies and crisps this coming winter.

And we’re not alone. As everyone is designed with a purpose in mind, I drove to my friend Erna’s for encouragement, and to see how her raspberry bushes are faring.

“The berries are hard and without flavor,” she said as we walked to her large vegetable garden. “I’m leaving the fruit for the birds.”

Oh, I must admit it’s true: misery loves company. Thankfully, Erna’s is good and upbeat. After a second serving of her homemade cheesecake, I left resigned to whatever purpose this drought has in mind.

For one, after hauling water morning, noon, and night to our beehive, birdbaths, and little flock of hens, I’ve developed a greater empathy and respect for farmers of large livestock herds.

It’s the heat that takes you to your knees. A poor raspberry crop doesn’t tug at my heart as dehydrated hens gasping for water and robins feeding their young.

Yes, dear Reader, the drought draws me closer to observe their nest–to pause my steps from the compost bin on my way uphill.

To let my heart rejoice at the sight of the first fledgling fly from the nest–to sing in times of drought, and in times of showers.

Contact Iris at irisleeu@sbcgobal.net.