Archive for July, 2011

July 20, 2011

The Drought

I have heard there is rain elsewhere, in neighboring valleys. Travelers who come over the hills tell of green fields and full wells. This is their medicine. We get stoned on hope. But I am terrified—as are we all—to climb to the hilltop and find only wheatgold dead grass to the horizon. Oh, we could walk on and on, but see plain enough no clouds. We are safe, at least, at the heart of the valley.

My son plays on a tire swing hanging from a desiccated oak. The leaves have singed but are too light to fall, no wind to scatter them. The swing’s ropes have begun to fray—maybe a week before they snap. My boy knows, and swings gently.

In the drought we have lost ourselves. Or perhaps the selves were never ours to lose, only brought and renewed by the rain. Is there some essential me in the vapors hanging over hot asphalt after thundershowers? If so, we are blameless for forgetting how to live.

I kiss you but I do not kiss you. We are missing more than water; not our lips alone are dry. We wake, we eat; we work; we sleep; and this all meant something with clouds rising and gathering. Here under flawless blue, all bereft of water, we have begun to evaporate.

And I am too dry for this to frighten me.

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