it was a dark and stormy night

it was a dark and stormy night

I

t’s been raining in the desert.

More often than not lately, dark clouds collect to the north and west in the afternoon. They reach some sort of critical mass, some point at which they have reached a consensus, and then they issue forth across the sky toward us, bringing the wind and rain with them.

The storms are beautiful; when they break, they spill out all of the light and sound one might expect from a war in heaven. The skies might be at their loveliest just before they open up over our heads—when the contrast between the unblinking, periwinkle blue sky and the menacing bulk of the clouds sends what’s left of the sunlight off in unexpected directions, shading things pink and orange and purple.

The morning after one of these storms, I walk out of the house to find the air itself changed. The breaths I take are heavier, harder to draw in. And despite all of its obvious benefits and regardless of the hope I had nurtured for the triumphal, sloshy return of these summer storms, I am ambivalent about the wetter way of things.

Living in an arid world is simpler. Doors swing on their hinges and sand—unlike mud—can be swept away. Sure, plants I’d long-since given up for dead have been resuscitated, breathing out new growth from their brittle, brown branches, but the weeds are growing right along with them—meriting an acknowledgement on my part, at least, if not any actual attention.

Our storms leave quietly, breaking apart once they’ve exhausted themselves in the skies overhead, but the changes they bring about are consistent with the loud promise of their arrival. Wading through all of the fecund growth left in their wake, I try to catch my breath while laying up hope that I might become amore like our summer storms myself, living out my days with a singularity of intention and expression.