Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The End of the World? Take a Rain Check!

A perfect ending to a perfect day!

The End of the World? Take a Rain Check!


The world was supposed to end today but the event got rained out. I suppose true believers wrapped themselves in disappointment. I mean, one hates to wait in breath-held anticipation for any happening, joyful or fearful, and then have one’s plans go awry.

However, I had made no plans other than my usual business and pleasure. Ah, I hear the clamor of raised voices. I see fingers of accusation pointed in my direction. “It is people like you who bring about the end of the world; business and pleasure, indeed!” I shrug. “Well, what do you believe in?” the voices ask.

I believe in rain. This past winter I believed in snow. But winter is over and done. Fickle believer that I am, today I fervently believe in rain. This evening I hear the music of rain thrumming timpani on my metal roof. My roof is red. Rain on red makes a more melodious sound than rain on any other color. I have neither scientific nor religious proof to back up my belief. But it pleasures me with a Cheshire cat grin to believe in the superior rhythm of rain on my red roof.

It’s been a week of rain and a week of astounding revelations. One actually can watch grass grow. Everything is out of season this year. Each day for a month I have walked out to my raspberry patch to see if the tiny bumps on the stalks were buds. Every time, I walked back to the house swallowing disappointment. I despaired of my raspberry canes ever being more than dead sticks. But today I bring tidings of joy. On days like today growth is visible. I watched leaves emerge from tiny buds to fullness. In one week of rain, while I stood in my window, I watched the metamorphosis. I predict raspberries by the bushel. My currants are in bloom with tiny nodules of berries. The lilacs are sending out clusters. My bleeding hearts are bleeding. My poplars sport unfurled umbrellas. This might not seem like much to you, but with the end of the world in sight, I want all the excitement I can get.

This afternoon I drove to Havre. Through the rain. In my red van. Over the packed-earth detour, a perfect place for the world to end. Slip-sliding along in the mud, that slimy by-product of rain plus road construction. Here’s a scientific formula: rain plus road construction plus earthen detour plus traffic equals potholes. Kidney-jarring pits. Bone-jangling pits. I liken the experience to a strange marriage of a rodeo to a demolition derby. My van sun-fished like a bucking horse. Every driver, in my imagination, wore a crash helmet. We hunched forward in our saddles, eyes slit in concentration, our leather-gloved fingers wrapped around the steering wheels. We hung on grimly while our rigs bounced over the rutted throughway, sending sheets of mud over the windshields of oncoming vehicles. Yee-Haw! Let ‘er rip!

Pulitzer Prize winning poet Robert Frost mused about the end of the world in his poem, “Fire and Ice”:

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if I had to perish twice

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

Although the world could have ended today, when I woke up this morning, I was still here. I say the rains came down and doused the fire and melted the ice. I walked out to my garden and harvested a batch of rhubarb in the rain. I cut a fistful of tulips and stuck them in a pitcher of water to grace my kitchen table. I drove to Havre and conducted business. I enjoyed a good dinner with good friends. I drove home. And if, as the rains continue, we wish we had built an ark, I’ll watch my flowers grow.

Sondra Ashton

HDN: Looking out my back door

May 26, 2011

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