Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bring on the Storms

It seems like the weather across the U.S. has cooled a bit this week and the Flint Hills were no exception, with highs in the 80's and lows in the 60's the latter part of the week.  It isn't winter, but it's a darned sight better than the last month of daily 100's we had.

What we still need in Kansas though, is rain, and lots of it.  On August 20th, we got 1.7 inches of rain, the first significant moisture since early July, and I thought that would help quench the thirsty plants, but I divided a peony two days later and amongst the rock-hard clay clods I couldn't detect that a lick of moisture had been added.  I'm considering adding a motion-triggered camera facing my rain gauge to make sure Mrs. ProfessorRoush isn't adding water to the gauge just to help me feel better.  Even the areas I've mulched with 6 inch-thick prairie hay are dry underneath as far as I can dig with a mattock. 

This is want I want to see; Storm clouds rolling from my north and west.
It's bad enough that I'm seriously reconsidering the utility of ceremonial rain dances by the ancient prairie peoples. I've been googling "rain dance" and "Kansa" to see what worked best for those who survived on this land in the past, but to no avail.  My googles were in vain as so many of those traditions are sadly lost to history.  I learned only that the dancers moved in a zig-zag fashion and that the rain ceremonies were one of the few tribal ceremonies where women were also allowed to dance. I probably couldn't correctly do the steps anyway, but I wonder if my neighbors would mind if they saw me out chanting and wailing across the prairie?  Given my past actions, it's feasible that they wouldn't notice the difference from my usual gardening practices.

The current tradition of Flint Hill's gardeners is to pray loudly for the appearance of storm clouds such as those pictured above.  Now, yes, it's true, Kansas is a famous place for tornadoes, not because we have more than any other state (we're actually down a bit on that list, below both Texas and Oklahoma), but of course because of that darned Oz film that has so poorly stereotyped this state for centuries to come. The true case is that most of the native Kansans, or even the transplants, like myself, cheer up when they see those dark clouds coming over the horizon.  Yes, there's a small chance of destruction, but they also bring life-giving rain to soak the earth down deep into that solid sterile clay. It's a renewal of our souls. We, my neighbors and I, we watch the skies and welcome the building thunderheads.  My small wind vane warns me early as it swings first to the west to feed the storm for an hour or so, and then, in the seconds just before it hits, back to the east as the downdrafts swoop in.

It's time for Fall to come and wake me up some night with the wind howling through the storm doors or with a nice downpour on the skylights.  I promise, I'll just smile and turn right back over to sleep.  Come rain, Come life.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your interest in my blog. I like to meet friends via my blog, so I try to respond if you comment from a valid email address rather than the anonymous And thanks again for reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...