It stormed every day that summer. Sometimes it would deluge all day long. Some days it would monsoon in the mornings. Almost every day it came down like an avalanche in the afternoon. The roads sluiced with runoff streaming rapidly downhill. Fields were flooded. Swollen rivers rose over their banks, taking trees and timber for wholly unexpected whitewater adventures.
I sat in the window seat, forlornly watching yet another storm dump its liquid sunshine. Out the window, I could barely make out the tomato stakes in the lake that was once the garden, obscured by the blowing sheets of gray rain and water rivulets on the window. The 4th of July fireworks had been called off in town. Staying up late, lying in the bed of my daddy’s pickup, watching all the patterns of brilliant colors fill the pitch black sky, listening to the reports of the explosions and whistles echo off the mountainsides, playing with my brothers and sisters and cousins; it was all rained out, taken away. Maybe next year. I was disappointed but angry more. I wanted to punch a rain cloud in the face. It wasn’t fair. Not at all.
Mom came into the kitchen with her raincoat that fit me like a dress, hanging down to my ankles. My daddy followed her. He had his jacket on and the keys to our John Deere Gator. He said that he needed to go check the bridge in the back pasture and that I was to come along. The two of us hopped in and headed out. Between the noise of the engine and the pounding drops on the plastic hood, I couldn’t hear or really see much. We crashed through potholes, water and mud flying. Daddy leaned over and yelled, “I’m totally soaked!” I smiled. A big pool of water formed in my lap on top of the oversized coat. I watched it roll back and forth across my lap. Felt it seeping through the zipper into my dress underneath.
The bridge was holding on – clinging desperately to the banks of the creek turned dangerous torrent – though the water was flowing right up to its deck. He said that he thought it would hold through the night. We waited under the protection of a towering fir tree for a while and talked. Just father and daughter stuff. Thunder boomed like cannon fire off the nearest mountainside.
“Well, I don’t think it’s going to rain any harder. Let’s get headed back,” he said. But, he was wrong. It did rain harder, as soon as he turned the key in the ignition and the engine sputtered back to life in that hazy, damp gloom. Out of other options, we just laughed, our tears mingling with the buckets of cold, hard rain that fell unrelenting upon us. Eminently and thoroughly drenched, joyous.
Copyright © 2014 Eric Schweitz