I awake before dawn to the roar of rolling thunder. After another dry spell, the heavens at last shake the house with the sound waves of kettledrums and cymbals. I smell the crescendo of rainfall before I hear its blessed tap-dance on the rooftop.

My abused bones and muscles relax. Hallelujah! I’m saved from dragging the hose from our rhubarb patch to flower gardens!

Perfect timing; for I believe I’ve run out of gas. I’ve burned a double portion this droughty summer.

I rest; know my beloved honeybees will find raindrops on grass, leaves, and flowers. Perhaps I’ll chance upon another bee drinking a sparkling drib on a begonia petal–my wage for faithfully watering birdbaths, pots, and window boxes in ninety-degree weather.

A cool, clean breeze carries the scent of soil, foliage, and rain to my pillow. Like a good convalescent, I turn on my side and welcome Nature’s cure.

I listen to the storm’s fireworks explode above our land, glad for the married elements of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.

Water. We can’t survive without it. Even my potted succulents need moisture. Beware, without drainage, a succulent is doomed.

Since I’ve nowhere to go and nothing to do this hour of the morning, my mind considers such necessities as food, healthy plants, and family.

I’m grateful for the fallout of nitrogen fixation onto our weedy lawn. It shall be green again, unlike our dehydrated tomato plants. We’ve learned no amount of rainfall will revive them. Although my husband soaked the vegetable garden with well water, there’s nothing like a drenching shower in due season for a robust crop.

Yet, we’ve seen worse dry spells–say twenty or so years ago before we grew a vegetable garden. We didn’t dare light a bonfire back then.

As summers sweep over me, it seems we built our little homestead in a drought zone. The earth is green and lush just south, east, and west of us, and a few miles north.

Thank God we can’t foresee the future.

When our girls lived here, what seems a century ago, yet just yesterday, fierce storms sometimes sent us to the basement. Once, the wind blew all the straw off the grass seed we’d sown. As we raked the straw back in place, our daughters declared country living wasn’t for them.

And they’ve kept their word.

With our cat Cuddles sleeping at my side, I recall my mother, her passion for growing food and flowers. Whenever my family arrived at her Kentucky door for our annual summer visit, we found a huge pot of white-half runner green beans on the stove, a pone of cornbread in the oven, and a bouquet of zinnias on her dinning room table.

This hospitality we enjoyed until the unsettling of her memory.

Dear Reader, with the tail end of another summer making a spectacle of itself with lightning and thunder, my younger self reconciles with my older self.

I rest, consider the two-week lifespan of the worker honeybee.

Contact Iris at irisleeu@sbcglobal.net.