Late summer rain

It’s hot here. Like 90 some degrees. Hot and a little bit windy and a little bit dusty and a lot like late August.

The ditch sunflowers are out in full bloom and everything is taking cover, looking for shade or a place to cool down.

The heat woke up the  wasps. And the black flies. And the scum growing on the pond. The weeds are prickly and tall. The dust settles in on the lines on my face and makes me look a little weathered as I wander sort of aimlessly around the farmyard, thinking I should be doing something on this late summer afternoon.

But there’s nothing worth doing when the sun’s this hot.

The neighbors are putting up hay in the fields above the house.

They’re combining the pea crop up the road.

Someone out in this country is fixing fences.

When it’s hot like this the work still needs to get done. And so the cowboys and farmers are out in it, their faces red under their caps, their arms dark brown and dirty under the sleeves of their t-shirts.

Out there under the hot sun they work, thinking it’s likely a storm will blow through tonight, this heat conjuring up a big set of thunderheads on the horizon.

Thinking how nice a  rain would feel right now, the cool drops hitting their backs, the lightning striking and thunder cracking, promising a downpour to interrupt the work.

There’s nothing like a late summer storm that sends you into the house.

There’s nothing like watching it pour and knowing there’s nowhere you can be now.

Nothing you can do but watch.

I had the windows open last week as the clouds darkened the evening and turned dust to mud. I had my guitar in my hands and it was so sultry, being cooped up in the house, my husband on the easy chair reading a book and me singing something.

To me a summer storm out here is weighed down with emotion: relief and renewal, unrest and electricity, and a sort of loneliness I can’t explain. The sound of the rain on thirsty things makes me want to sit a bit closer to him, to tell him things I’ve forgotten to tell him, remember the other storms we watched together.

Because there is nowhere we can be. No work to be done in the pouring rain.

So I sang.

Sun beats down
turning my pale skin brown
I have been cold for months
I turn my face up

I hear the thunder crack
heavy drops lick my back
and I think how nice it is
that I can cool down like this

Oh, it’s raining
and lightning
it’s pouring

Oh, it’s raining
can’t get the crop in
come in and sit down
come on into the house

I’ll take that heavy coat
soaked to the skin, the bones
I’ll cook you something warm
as we wait out the storm

There’s nothing like summer heat
cooled down by a thundering breeze
there’s nothing like you and me

Oh, it’s raining
and lightning
it’s pouring

Oh, it’s raining
can’t get the crop in
come in and sit down
come on into the house

Looks like it’s letting up
steam rolls from your coffee cup
held by your callused hands
I like these change of plans

I pull your collar up
say this weather is like our love
pouring the heat on us
then it’s raining

Oh, it’s raining
and lightning
it’s pouring

Oh, it’s raining
can’t get the crop in
come in and sit down
come on into the house

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3 thoughts on “Late summer rain

  1. Jess, I love it. No rain here yet but I know your sentiments. My wondeful Uncle Dick always entertained us on days like “the feeling like 115 degree days” after we had eaten grass hoppers in the back of the truck or on horseback and had a good swim in the creek the cattle were in a few short yards away, by giving us ample amounts of Kool-Aid and stories.
    What was amazing was we were all sweaty and hot but he was in a tee shirt with a white shirt over that and a cowboy hat. The only way you could tell he was hot was the fore arms of his shirt. He kept removing the hat and wiping his brow there, but only when his hanky was too soaked to do the job.
    Thanks for the memories and the heat…it always comes from your neck of the woods. thanks again:-)

  2. Wonderful words, Jess! And I loved how the tempo of the song reflected the slow roll of the weather on those stormy afternoons out in the country….

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