Friday, January 11, 2008
The Dead of Winter
It's 8 in the morning. I have over an hour before I have to get the suitcase I laughingly call my pillbox down and start gulping. And it's raining. Picture me doing a touchdown dance in the end zone. Okay, so that was not a pretty sight...picture me lifting my eyes heavenward, saying thank you. If it would do this all day for about two more weeks (light gentle rain, not the gully washers that others are getting) we might catch up the 18 inches of rain we didn't get this summer. You know, Spring 2007 started out so promising. The mornings were cold, but the afternoons were coolish. Now when I say cold, I mean South Carolina cold, the forties. Afternoon highs were in the high fifties, low sixties. Flower buds were on all the trees, the apple and pear trees, the plum trees and blueberry bushes were all getting ready to set fruit. March was a fond memory April was a dazzler. Right up to the killing frost, or that Cold Snap as the old folk called it. Now, the first night of killing freeze wasn't bad enough, it was the second night and third night that really did us in. Mac and I covered as much as we could with sheets, trying to protect the tender buds. Little did we know that the forty knot winds would come along in the middle of the night of the third day and take every spare sheet I owned to Timbuktu. Short of walking through the garden with a heater, we did all that we could. We listened to the weather man, (you know the one they pay to tell us what we already know...they don't have a clue) looked longingly out at the gardens and hoped for the best. Then the cold and cool went away. Just up and left us in the middle of May and it became hot. And dry. We dragged hoses from the well to the garden to try to save the tomatoes and okra and peas. Our plum trees produced a miracle of two plums. I ate them quickly before Mac could even get a taste. The apple tree that had been so carefully pruned and winter washed the year before bore one apple. One apple. Just enough to get Eve into a hot spot. The blueberries that we were so carefully watering now, no fruit. The Catalpa trees had not one blossom and only a few leaves. I fear they have died. The peach trees grew because we became slaves to them, carrying buckets of water daily to quench their growing thirst. The garden produced squat. Everything sat in the blazing sun and baked. And now we have rain. It's not really the dead of winter, just winter getting started. We've only had a few days of freezing weather so far. I begin to worry about this Global Warming that they're really just now talking about at length. But I seem to remember rumblings of trouble on the horizon when I was a preteen. But no one was listening. Well, we're hoping for a future spring and longing for the drought to end. And now, it's raining. It's been raining for two days. Ah bliss, ah heaven. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it's not the headlight of the train.