28 days without rain

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The sun bursts forth one more time as if in mockery, the rumble of thunder fading into the distance like a passing train carrying away loved ones.

Watching corn that was once green, lush and reaching for the sky with outstretched arms now turn her back to the sun and say, “Please, no more!” As if devised by some sinister being, a slow death encroaches upon her.

Her feet turn brown, then her shins, up to her waist and finally her entire torso until she breathes her last, falls over at the waist and gives up the ghost.

All the while, we, her caregiver, her guardian, her surrogate parents watch helplessly as she valiantly fights the good fight to the end.

Have we not been there for her from the beginning? Was it not us who meticulously placed her in the womb of the soil? We watched as she came to life, from infant to adolescence. We walked amongst her and her friends as her leaves tickled our ankles, her arms caressed our waists and the rustling of her fodder sang us songs.

We dreamed of her at adulthood, strong and erect, 10 feet tall, black green, fully pollinating her child and raising him to big yellow kernels that burst from the shuck as if to show the world. It was our hope, our longing, our aspiration. This was what we dreamed for her. This is what we lived for.

But it is not to be.

Some force more powerful than earth-bound humans and more sweeping than a thousand acres of corn has decreed otherwise. Someone has shoved back the rain, barricaded the thunderstorms and swept away the showers.

They have scorned our spring labors and usurped our efforts. The sweat of our brow falls useless on the ground. Though we strain and buck and fight against the heavens, we are forced, once again, to surrender our proud but feeble efforts to some greater cause. We are left with the sun, the wind, and the dust.

So it is. And so it will be.

Nevertheless, I submit the word “drought,” from this day forward, be banished from the English language.