When clouds built to our west and northwest last evening, Dan and I sat on the porch to watch. He said the words that we have all been saying for so long now, not, "I wish it would rain," but, "Why won't it rain?" Then he said, "We don't even have cactus here (well, maybe a few prickly pear)." This made me think of Mary Austin's The Land of Little Rain, in which she writes about the desert southwest. She spent long periods of time there and wrote about the land, the climate, the plants, and the animals of a land that "supports no man."
"Here are the long heavy winds and breathless calms on the tilted mesas where dust devils dance, whirling up into a wide pale sky. Here you have no rain when all the earth cries for it. Void of life it never is, however dry the air and villainous the soil." Desert plants, the yuccas, the cacti, and the low herbs, are adapted to survive in a bitter land. The animals are nearly all workers of the night, finding the days too hot and the sands too white.
But, this land, where we live, is not desert. This is a land of pine and hardwood forests, of grassy meadows, and bubbling streams...or, at least, it was, before the drought. Many trees now look as though they are dead, and those along the high ridges mimic the colors of fall. The animals that habitat this land are hungry, and perhaps thirsty, too - the cattle and the wild ones, the deer, the squirrels, the raccoon, and many others.
As Dan and I watched the sky, I noticed last evening that the moon had a halo of sorts around it, and couldn't help recall a bit of folklore..."When there's a ring around the moon, rain or snow will soon follow."