I stand at the sink, drinking a glass of water as it turns immediately to sweat. I think this has to be a sign of dehydration and have another glass. I’m about to make my rounds, checking on the poultry, filling water dishes, making sure the animals are cared for. Last week on one of these water-bearing excursions I got dizzy and have since been much more diligent at making sure I have something to drink before going out.
Fresh water for the geese, the ducks, the broilers, and the chicks in their respective pens. Fresh water for the chickens who are out free ranging–one dish at the entrance of the coop, one in the shade of a large tree. Fresh water for the dogs. Fresh water on a table in the garage for the cat just in case the wind blows the door shut and she happens to get trapped inside.
I check on the garden to see if any of my vegetables struggling for a bit of space amongst the weeds need some watering to make it through the rest of the afternoon. The state is underwater with water volumes rivaling the Great Flood of 1993. Neighboring communities were evacuated. The Missouri has left its banks with flood waters covering one lane of Highway 2, five miles from where the river is supposed to stay. My husband is stuck in Creston waiting on a train that is waiting for flood waters to recede before it can pass.
Fortunately, the garden is still moist enough. It always seems strange when I need to set out a sprinkler in light of the ongoing news reports, but we live on a hill and mostly the rain only manages to increase the humidity for us.
Finally, my afternoon chores are finished and I walk up the hill toward the house, toward a nice, tall glass of refrigerator tea, toward a window fan that will provide a little relief from the heat.
Sweat is dripping from my forehead, plastering my hair to the side of my face and the back of my neck. The shirt I wear in lieu of sunscreen sticks wherever it finds skin. I lift it off my shoulders seeking just a little air. Suddenly, a breeze. . .ever so slight. . . comes down the hill to meet me and ruffle my shirt.
A breath of fresh air.
It is followed by a stronger breeze, a distinctly cooler breeze and I let it pick up my shirt and push it off my shoulders.
I bask in the coolness.
I can smell the rain on the changing wind. I can feel the temperature dropping. I close my eyes, breathe the clean, fresh air, drink in its refreshment.
And I wonder for a moment if the seemingly unbearable heat is worth it for the pleasure of just this small breeze meeting me as I walk toward the house.