When it’s as dry and miserable outside as it’s been lately, the temptation is to close the curtains, stay inside, and drink more.
The same temptation hits when the dryness and misery are on the inside.
Hurting people, those I know anyway, don’t usually fling open the shutters of their pain so that passersby can get a good look and perhaps drop in for a long chat and a cold Coke. More likely, the wounded hammer boards across their windows, in hopes no one will even attempt to knock.
It’s not that they don’t want the company, you see, but that having company reminds them of the abusive husband or the rebelling kid who is tearing their heart out. Closing the windows and keeping people away prevents the scab from having to be continually ripped off soft flesh and feels a small price to pay.
So they, we stay inside. Avoid probing phone calls long enough and they go away, too. And emails. And, well, every form of contact. What started out as protection from the pain deepens it, but we didn’t know that was going to happen. We thought pulling away was survival; we didn’t realize we’d miss the door-knocking.
Now securely alone and isolated, the grieving, the sad, the depressed can’t bear it, so numb it. If you’re not the type to fall into the bottle, remember excess TV or web boogie-boarding can numb with the best of any aged Scotch.
So, you’re now locked inside a prison of your own making, meanwhile the garden you lovingly planted is shriveling into weeds. And your soul is so dry, you don’t even care. Less weeding, you console yourself. Fewer bug bites, you justify. Your grass is crunchy brown and you think more water is the answer, but the water you’re paying $200 a month for isn’t helping, so why bother. It goes the way of the garden. You sense that exercise will help things, but the triple-digits set in so early these days, that’s hardly an option.
It’s the end-of-summer blues and your soul mirrors the drought happening outside. Water is part of the cure and you know it. Yet, on parched soil what few drops fall run off without soaking in. What you need is a deluge that lasts long enough to soften the hardest, the most cracked ground. One cool day, you pray, just one and I can endure until fall.
And, somewhere around day 45 of what will end up being a record-breaking summer, your prayer is answered. You wake not to blazing sun peeking through tall windows, but the gray darkness of mid-winter. The rain has already started, but doesn’t knock off early like it has been. No, it rains and it rains and it rains, soaking deep.
It won’t be the end of the drought, but it’s enough. Enough to revive the tomatoes. Enough to rescue the wilting petunias. Enough to say, “I’m listening.”