I walk out to the heifers and the grass crunches under my feet.
Everything around me looks like it has finally given up and succumbed to the drought.
Last week, we had three days of rain predicted. Three days of watching the clouds build and move on. Three days of watching lightning all around us. Three more days of no rain.
Somehow it seemed like everything was holding out for the promise of that rain. The corn, the garden, the grass . . . and when it didn’t come, it all gave up. The corn is wilting away and browning months before maturing.
Our neighbor said her husband brought home an ear of corn and it felt like rubber and didn’t have a single kernel.
Even in the orchard where we haul bucket after bucket of left over bathwater to our young fruit trees, the grass is giving up. Its roots just don’t go deep enough to find the water that is sustaining our small orchard.
There’s almost nothing left of the grass on our south facing slope.
Even my thistles are turning brown.
The only green on our property is where we water, in the shade and in the pasture. In fact, if anything convinces me of the principles of pasture management I read in Grassfed Beef, it is the difference between my lawn and my pasture:
But even healthy pasture cannot survive indefinitely without rain.
My soul feels like this land, dry and parched. Hoping for rain and wilting under the relentless heat. Reaching deep into the soil in search of moisture from year old rain storms to sustain just enough life to spring forth with the next rain.
And tired. Oh, so very tired of using so much energy to make it through one more day of waiting. I feel like I am being tested on just how deep these roots go.
I lost a son. I just want to sit on the porch and cry into my puppy’s fur, not be forced to choose between him and the chickens he was eating faster than I could count. I imagined just slaughtering them all, but each swing of the ax seemed like it was falling against our dreams, not just a chicken. And how could I tell my daughter that she must give away her flock she spent two years waiting for and saving for?
Bear lost a brother. I just want to go down at two in the morning and see his beloved Fido sleeping on his pillow, not wander about the property looking for a cat that slips out at every opportunity but doesn’t seem to have enough sense to ever come back in. He’s been missing for two days and I can only think of my little Bear’s prayers. Every night it was:
“What do you want to pray about?”
“Everything I have, and especially for Fido.”
And now it’s just:
“That Fido is safe and comes back home.”
And I think he’s lost enough, but I can’t make that silly cat appear.
I just want a break. A spot in the shade and a long drink of water. But coupled with the drought are record breaking temperatures that Just. Won’t. Let. Up.
But I know this is temporary. For I have tasted of living water.
” . . . but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life.” ~John 4:14
I have tasted of this water and glimpsed eternity.
That doesn’t mean that I meet every challenge with grace and dignity and joy. My rejoicing in the Lord looks rather like my rejoicing with little Mookie over new discoveries as I laugh and clap and fight back tears. The joy is genuine, but so is the pain.
In heaven, there is a place prepared for me. This life is not all there is to live for. The death of my son is not final.
I am being led to green pastures and quiet waters. Which is good, because most of the time, I can’t see past the dead grass beneath my feet.