Rain has been coming down for the last few days here in flamingo land, and every living thing is turning its face up and smiling. We’ve had such a long dry spell that the threat of forest fires has been high, water has been severely rationed, and everything growing has taken on a wilted look. The first day it rained, the ground was so hard it couldn’t absorb the moisture, but now rainwater is soaking into the soil. Grandmother Oak, the hundred-year-old tree in my front yard, has opened her arms to receive as much of it as she can, and the ferns and jasmine at her feet are all stretching with contentment. The big clump of plumbago is doing a little bobbing dance, and the row of tough-guy lariope is doing its own little dance number, but trying not to be obvious. Those lariope plants try not to let anybody know when they’re suffering, but the drought has been hard on them.
I’m finding it hard to concentrate on writing because I’m so thrilled about the rain. I keep looking out my windows and grinning like an idiot because the bougainvillea is jigging its branches and my little lemon tree is shiny and shimmering. Lining my front walk, the ever-hardy hibiscus that never stops blooming seems to have expanded from the moisture in its leaves and blossoms.
Every time something like this calls my attention to nature’s rhythms, I realize how puny and trivial most of our human concerns are. The earth doesn’t worry about the economy, it doesn’t draw lines in itself and say one section is its favorite, it doesn’t get uptight and holier than thou about anything. It just lives. When the sun shines, it absorbs its rays. When snow comes, it hibernates under snow’s blanket, and when it rains it drinks as deeply as it can. Through drought and flood, hurricanes and earthquakes, fires and wars, the earth has renewed itself time and again. It will continue to renew itself long after we have taken our silly selves to some other place. I like to think we are also renewed, but I doubt any of us will do it as gracefully and as humbly as Grandmother Oak.