We had a good rain last night, courtesy of a thunderstorm that came muttering in from the southwest. The sound of its distant drumrolls woke me from a deep sleep—a low, resounding rumble that, as it approached, might have been mistaken for the wheels of a horse-drawn wagon clattering over a wooden bridge. After a while the storm drew near and the smell of coming rain, fresh and damp, came wafting through the open screen and quickly cooled the room. The dog, who’s not afraid of even the most tumultuous storm, stirred on her bed, savoring the sudden profusion of scent carried in on the thickening night air. The rain itself began with a few drops on the roof, an erratic pinging, spasmodic, asymmetrical, too misshapened to be called rhythm. But a minute later I heard a dull onrushing as the wall of pouring rain advanced through the woods opposite the cottage, changed pitch as it crossed the open channel, then roared exuberantly as it drenched our side of the river. I don’t mind rain—especially not in the spring when all the earth needs a life-boosting drink. Rain in spring is vernal refreshment. Of course I do mind when it rains day after day, or comes discharging such a protracted downpour that streams flood their banks and I have to stand on the muddy edge of my swollen river in the middle of the night, worried like a parent with a feverish child, and pray for the rising water to crest before climbing another inch. Last night’s rain, however, proved as well behaved as anyone could want—giving freely of itself for half and hour, then packing up and moving elsewhere when the ground was sufficiently saturated. By dawn’s sunny light the whole world sparkled under a sheen or moisture. Everything looked green and lush, swollen with pleasure and quickening with energy. I could almost hear the grass starting to grow. And that is the perfect one-word description for today…lush. A succulent green land, tender, heavy with leaf, dense and thick, yet soft, verdant, almost tropical. The sun remained out and bright; temperatures climbed into the mid-80s. For the first time this year the air felt sultry. I’ve spent much of the time working around the yard, fiddling with plants, moving more wood to the woodpile, trying to figure where to plant what, should I have the funds to expand my landscaping anytime soon—not to mention the necessary energy. Before going inside I stepped onto the front deck overlooking the water. The river was up an inch or two and showing some color. A half-dozen mallards came winging downstream, flying fast, gabbling to one another as they hurried along. One of the local herons, perhaps inspired by the early-morning freshet, was intently fishing the shallows on the island side of the channel. The mass of wild grapevine I allow to trail over the rail was green and lovely in the backlight of the now-lowering sun. Everything was lush today. And I feel lush, myself.
* * * * *[Faithful readers…you’ll notice some changes today in the “Riverdaze…” layout. A bit of tweaking in colors and background; a new header, including a different great blue heron header shot. (Same series as the old heron, taken just a few minutes earlier, in the riffle near the cottage…just a different, less “busy” pose.) I’m not big on change, except for a reason—and the reason here is that I was trying to make it cleaner in design, and most importantly, easier to read. I hope I’ve succeeded…but that’s where I need your help and input. Tell me what you think. Like? Don’t like? Doesn’t matter one way or the other? Let me know.]