Growing up on the Shuswap, I always remembered the violence of the storms. The warm wind on my bare limbs, the sweet, sharp smell that would rise from the earth after just a few drops of precipitation. The dark that was suddenly sweeping the hills.
Returning to the Okanagan has triggered those memories in my body. Although here, twenty years later, it is more extreme. The dry is so dry it burns my cheeks and the precious drops of moisture tease the nose. If I miss a moment of watering the plants shrivel and the wasps are lazy and tired in the August heat. And the smoke is never far away.
We need rain desperately. My coastal friends are even rejoicing in the rain they now have. Send it our way, I tell them. But it is elusive. Teasing. A drop here and there, grey cloud and nothing more than warm winds sucking the moisture from the earth.
Despite this the bite of autumn is not far away. I can feel it in the loss of early morning light. Soon it will be September with the slanting sun and golden hues. Then October, red and fiery. I missed this so much in the damp green of the coast. Even the November winds, whispering of snow as they carry cold rain, sleet and dark clouds are welcome to me. I missed the change of seasons.
But now, in the hot, dry month of August, I long for rain without the crackle of lightning and the clap of thunder. I saw three fires start last time we had a storm. Just a bit of moisture in the air. Some rain would be welcome.
And tonight the rain is pattering against the windows – not soft and steady as Vancouver rain tends to be but hard and fierce, with wind battering the drops and the moisture racing down the sides of the house, pooling in the garden and greedily gobbled by the dry soil. The rain isn’t comforting as it is at the coast. Here it is angry, resentful and lonely. But we need it so badly, I listen to it being flung against the house, thankful and a bit afraid. Breathing in the fresh kiss that is rising from the yard. I am grateful I am warm,