By SLIM RANDLES
When the world is hot and my skin is fried, scratching from the constant dry, let the clouds boil up, boil up high. And then shade the earth with the darkening sky and bring the secrets and the smell of rain. The coolness and the blessed rain, again.
Our land is brown but blessed, stressed in the heat, the shiny heat of day. The slender green of rivers slide along, striving to continue, to feed its own along the banks, the banks where the dust rises. Rises, powdery clomp by clomp as we walk, walk the shady way.
And though the heat, the dryness of heat, pushes down our weary feet, we plod along. Ours is the blessing of challenge, to live, to thrive in the heat. To toil and sweat, to make the cold drink at day’s end that much sweeter. Sweeter as it goes down, cooler as it falls, dropping the coolness inside us and forcing us to smile. That summer smile.
When the heat falls hard, on many days, unquenched by the dark of night, we ask, in quiet times, we ask. Bring us the clouds, the black-bellied clouds, the clouds that softly hold the heads of gods in their moistening grasp. The clouds, those big-bellied busters that hold the violence, the wind, the flashes, the noise.
The clouds we wait for and pray for and look for on the western ridge. Let them come, with their silver tops and their bellies black as night and cool as forgiveness.
The summer clouds, the clouds that define our culture, our art, our summer, our hot, heavy summer.
A rain, a storm, a suddenness of life and blast and sweet charity designed to keep us living here, here in the rain, here in the sun, and keep us praying, here in the rain, and looking toward the west for more, always to the west, always looking for more.
Brought to you by millions of American kids who can find good things in almost any crisis. Here’s to the longest vacation from school. Yay!