As I walked home from school one day. I was followed by a darkening sky and strengthening breeze-an approaching storm. The thick, black, velvet curtain was suddenly drawn across the sky behind me. "Can I make it home?" I made it only half way before I was caught in the rain. I love the rain and took a mental image-amazed by its many faces. Sometimes you can feel the rain coming and sometimes you can smell it. This is one of those times when the native smell of dessicated air is gradually replaced just before the storm. As I mulled over how to describe this image. These words gave life to what I saw and smelled.
The Smell of Rain
This land where water is scarce and the
pungent odor of dust rises up your nostrils
like the smell of empty grain sacks.
Stiff dry plants crackled under foot -
the browns of life wanting - filled the vast expanse.
Always a hint of grit in your teeth,
ever-drifting sands prowl looking for respite,
anchored only when slowed by some tenacious plant
somehow clinging to this land like a weathered homestead.
The hope of rain is eternal -
clouds carried by need and fervent prayer often build
and sail on without a single tear.
In this land rain is more precious than gold,
distant clouds black with rain drifted in with the promise of life.
Before she arrived, a cool assurance piqued my interest
as I stood and faced the wind and willed it forward.
The breeze delivered the welcome message -
the smell of rain approached - slow on turtle's feet.
This sun-baked land now drank deeply and grasped at her passing skirt.
As I walked, I now could smell the wet earth
alive with energy released by soaking rain.
The smell of life, of wet rain-filled soil
are better medicine than rest.
Each passing storm with hope and longing, taunts my memory,
and conjures up the image of the prairie alive with oceans of green,
sprinkled with constellations of blazing color.
The smell of rain proves this is no mirage -
but an awakening of the senses, and the earth.
Growth and hope are as secure in this land
as the unyielding plants that breathed deeply of the smell of rain.
May 7, 2009