Thursday, July 21, 2011

Frog Rain

The post I wrote on July 6th, CRUNCHY!, prompted my friend Dick Prosapio (who is married to my dear old friend Elizabeth) to send me an email that I have to admit I have read over and over. For some reason, even in the midst of this terrible drought, it made me feel better. I asked his permission to post it here. As a side note, on July 19th, the day after I wrote the Summertime Dinner post which ended with, "Maybe tomorrow it will pour...", it did, indeed. We had a wonderful downpour that lasted over an hour and blessed us with one and a half inches of rain. Scott and I played in it joyously for the first 20 minutes. Most all our rain barrels are full and the garden partied so raucously it kept me awake all night.

The Frog Rain
When a big rain shows up around here it’s not something that takes place over days, it’s an all-at-once downpour that dumps inches in minutes. This last one just a few days ago, the first rain of any consequence we’ve had in months, did the job, it produced the gift of frogs.

South of our place is an old cattle “tank” a piece of land dug out by dozer decades ago to catch rain run off for cattle and wildlife. These ad hoc would be ponds dot the New Mexico, Texas, Arizona landscape and now and then, rarely for sure, provide a serendipitous opportunity for moisture in monsoon season….which is supposed to be right now, late June through early September. We haven’t had enough moisture in the past three years to feed any of these little basins….until this last “blessing” when in the space of forty five minutes to an hour we got an inch plus along with pea to marble sized hail all followed by the beautiful and mysterious sound of the frogs having their once-in-a-lifetime party opportunity down in our neighborhood tank. A really big rain season, one where we get a dumper like this every day or every other day, we can hear frogs every night for a week or two. This one only lasted for two nights, but there is a forecast for more to come this week or next so both we, and the frogs, may take heart.

The little piece I wrote about “Starving Spiders”, as you can see, was set down in the midst of despair, not a place I go to often if at all. I am a desert rat so I know about the feast and famine cycle of drought and rain in the southwest. I know it and can accommodate. But I am in relationship with a person who is not so “forgiving” of this reality and when things get really tough, as they will in this part of the country, as she begins to spiral down into hopelessness and I try to reassure her, I can find her desperation to be catching. Usually my bottom is a lot higher than hers but this year has set dry records and, along with two gigantic forest fires, one of them the largest in New Mexico history and relentless winds blowing out of the west far longer then they ever have in all my time living here, both of us became bottom dwellers for a time and I was hard pressed to maintain a demeanor of reassurance…until the “frog rain” came…and then we BOTH came fully alive to hope again. That’s all it takes you see. A bit of water falling from the sky and we can be moved into celebration. We can do Gene Kelly and splash in gutters in full song.

We Southwestern people are easily pleased. We just need frogs now and then.
~Dick Prosapio
New Mexico

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