Some time back in early February I had a cord of firewood delivered to the house. As per usual practice I loaded the pile dumped by my dealer into the pickup and drove it around back behind the cabin and stacked it in its customary spot, a convenient few steps from the den fireplace. I didn't cover it with the tarp, though, because it didn't look like rain and it's a pain in the ass to anchor the big plastic sail over the wood. I left the tarp in a heap in a corner, weighted down with my maul.
This pile of tarp and maul stood for nearly two months. Never once did I feel any urgency to cover the firewood with it, because it never, in those two winter months -- during which we normally get enormous lashings of rain and mud and misery -- even looked like it was thinking about raining.
The ground has become dry as parchment, as dry as David Niven. Pulling the winter weeds out of the vegetable beds has been absolute cake: flick 'em with a forefinger and they come popping right out. You sneeze with the dust you raise, but it's a small price to pay.
Tonight we've had our first rain since early February. It's not much -- it's certainly not enough to break the drought -- but it's something. Just now I poked my head outside and I was absolutely assaulted by the smell of a grateful earth. I've been told all sorts of conflicting nonsense about the smell of rain on dry earth -- that it's everything from ozone released by lightning to stone dust, which smells this way only when wetted -- but the smell is utterly intoxicating. Humus, leaf-rot, worm-castings, fungal growth: Everything's been granted permission to carry on as before. Begin again.
And I won't have to water the peas tomorrow morning. So it's got that going for it.