Rain is a precious thing in Namibia. It’s precious in a lot of places. But I grew up surrounded by water; every season was a rainy one. Sunny days were the golden nuggets in the world of the perma-cloud. However, here it is the sun, the sun after sun after sunny day that makes one depressed.
In case it’s not obvious, we’ve been stuck in a dry spell. It gets hot early, before we’ve even had breakfast. The plants wilt although I water them everyday and Jay’s horde of chocolate turns to goo, that is if it even had the chance overnight to solidify.
It becomes the first question folks ask in greeting: “Hi, had any rain? How’s the wife?”
Then, they compare measurements: “Yeah, we’ve had 100 mms so far.” They COUNT. They have little books in which they record and date each precipitation, no matter how small. I saw such a book not one time in my American years.
We always wished for a white Christmas back then, now it’s a wet one. But we didn’t get a wet one. We got a scorching hot, dry one. It made for good swimming but with the whole farm staff on vacation, our thirsty orchard of citrus, papaya, and olive trees ensured ours was not a restful and relaxing holiday season.
But no matter how merciless the sun may be in its spotless blue sky, I never give up hope. I check, maybe too often, for those cumulus clouds and whether they are up to something. I look for other clues like a bullfrog chorus at night or if the flowers don’t open in the morning. Maybe if the sugar pot has declumped or if the moon is near full or if the tortoises are on the move. But nothing is a promise and it seems more like luck than anything if yours is the sky to fall. The neighbor can be flooded and you can still be Farm Death.
So, I calm my heart when the thunder in the distance turns out to be an old truck lumbering by. Or that first raindrop on my head was only a bird with a lame sense of humor. I wait patiently(ish) for the temps to fall, the plants to perk up, and the wild mushroom scavenger hunt. I look forward to the coziness when the cats huddle around or hide under the blankets when the thunder is overhead. And the feeling of being small, which is unusual for me, and the comfort that nature is taking care of things for a while.
The rain never lasts long here and you never know when it’ll be back so I always try not to piss it off. I don’t turn my back on it, but rather watch the land drink. I hold in my sarcastic remarks and try not to curse the laundry I left on the line. I even try to accept the consequential mosquitoes. Which does not mean I cannot still squish them, it just means I accept them as nature’s worst idea ever. I also try not to get too excited, as if I were gloating. I wouldn’t want to be rude.
So when the drops finally graced our parched life today, I simply joined the lumps under the blankets, watched it fall, and hoped this year will be a wet one.