Last night I dreamed that my horse Lady (who I sold some time ago, but still miss deeply) had been moved to a new stable, where she got lots of exercise but was also periodically wrapped up in a heavy chain like the ghost of Christmas past. I’ve been thinking about her this week, because at last, at long last, we’ve gotten some actual rain, and when I was riding Lady several times a week the rain was always a mixed blessing, because it meant conditions at the barn would be soupy, and I would get very sweaty just standing around.
We also used to have a leaky roof, which threw me into despair during monsoon time (the rest of the time it…didn’t matter). All I wanted was to let my body feel the intense pleasure of rain falling down all around me, the drama of the storms, and instead I had to mitigate those pleasures with the stress of worrying my house was going to fall down, or at least fill up with mold and water damage.
Now, our roof is fixed and the humidity (which would barely be recognizable as such to people who live in actually humid climates, but still) just leaves a thin sheen of sweat on my face—a glow, really—when I walk Paul in the mornings. I am not bringing up my past annoyances to diminish my happiness in the present—every time a storm blows in I live-text the event with a friend or three. Instead, I am remembering moments when my happiness was less, so I can feel the contrast.
Or perhaps it’s just an association game my brain is playing, and it doesn’t mean much, except that Faulkner was right, and the past isn’t dead; it’s not even past.
Summer is the most rapid, endless time of year in the desert. The hot days are exhausting, but they disappear with great and ironic liquidity. (Did you know it’s almost August?) Then, sometimes, it rains.
Right now all the birds in our neighborhood are having a wonderful time foraging in all the seedlings that come up after a storm; Paul takes his time on morning walks, sniffing what seem to me to be identical patches of concrete in the road, which he previously would have given no mind to. In the afternoons, there is a feisty hawk that is always crying out from our eucalyptus. Struggling bushes and trees have sprouts of green, festive sprigs of holiday splendor. The world is a water palace.
I hope it keeps going. I hope it never ends. Sometimes, when hiking through the desert all the spiky plants look to me like oceanic life, and I imagine a massive wave (from where? From nowhere; from everywhere) breaking over the top of the world so that I find myself floating just off the bottom of a brand new sea, where all the dry foliage looks perfectly at home, each form of life having a strong relationship to its inverse. When the storms break on top of the house, it feels like the thunder is shattering my bones. This is the most blissful feeling of the season.