I too have stared out the window
On a dim dull Saturday morning
And watched the rain pound puddles in the driveway
And wondered why it should rain
On the day we planned the picnic.
Like you I have blessed the weatherman
Who promised a sunny weekend
With blue skies and light winds,
Days perfect for ball games and hiking,
For mowing the lawn and visiting with neighbors.
And I have cursed that same oracle
When storm clouds blotted the promised sun
And the heavens poured on us
As we crouched sullenly in our tents
While the wind whipped wet leaves through the gray air.
Once I was nearly buried on a hay wagon
By the sweet half-dry hay as old Johnny Martinson
Drove the Farmall in high down the rows as we hurried
To get the hay to the barn before the rain came,
And I remember the extra quarter I got when we did it.
But I remember also my father telling us
Of dust storms in Nebraska in the thirties,
Of ropes strung between the house and barn
To guide farmers to and from their chores,
Of days so dark that the chickens roosted at noon.
And long after the Dust Bowl years
I remember summers so dry
That the grass cut our feet like oat straw,
When ponds went dry and blackberries
Withered on the wilted vines,
When people prayed for rain,
Under merciless bright skies by day
And on windless nights with heat lightning
Flashing and mumbling beyond the horizon,
Prayed so hard that finally the rain did come.
But most of all I remember when I was twelve
Weeding the garden one hot dry day
(The best days to weed, my father told me,
Are when it is hot and dry and sunny.)
Home alone and hating the work,
Dreaming of heroes who did not weed or hoe,
When suddenly from the west a storm
Swept up the valley and over our woods and garden.
Lightning and thunder and raindrops big as grapes
Stung my cheeks as I stood stupidly in the storm.
But I think that you too would have shared my joy
With the corn waving in the garden, potato leaves nodding at each drop,
The pines washed green and oh! the puddles of cool water
Washing the dust from my bare feet as I rejoiced
In the splendor of the rain.