Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Begin Again

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.


fgfdsg said...

I'm almost sexually aroused by the description of rain, since we've only had one day of rain so far this year, and have been in drought conditions since 2001.

Everything has dust. It's in your eyes, if fills your lungs, it matts your hair. If you blow your nose it appears on the tissue. It sweeps through the windows and the doors, and if you hop into your car seat it swirls around you from the simple impact of sitting down. If you get liquid on your skin you can see the dirt wash away in trickles of brown. And we're not even in the areas where it's really bad.

It was never like this when I was a kid. I'd blame Global Warming, but we all know that doesn't exist.

I hope I don't end up saying 'I remember Rain'.

Enjoy it for me.

ClareToreador said...

... which is nice.

A dealer?! A DEALER?!! Jesus, Neddie, we're chopping down oak over here left and right. I can't give it away.

C.T. said...

Ergo, I can hook you up, should you wish.

Highlander said...

Isn't your firewood wet, though?

Employee of the Month said...

Last evening, post rare rainshower in the desert, low clouds, setting sun blasting through the cloud spaces at right angles, utterly still, the smell, the smell, the smell.

I turn to the Junior Executive and ask "Just like the opening of a Japanese horror film, eh?"

Neddie said...

Clare: hit me in IM, you know the name. I'll take your oak.

Linkmeister said...

We're on day 39 of rain, thank you. It's beyond tiresome; now the tourist bureau is getting worried.