From the street, you could see clouds in the west. From the highway, you could see dark skies. From the overpass, you could see towering thunderheads with dark black foundations and columns climbing into the sky where here and there there were breaks in the clouds that revealed vistas of billowing white and gold against a blue sky.
From the driveway when we got home, there was a smell of rain. In the distance the thunder of an approaching storm rolled over the hills, that crushy, gravelly thunder that sounds like it’s crackling about in the clouds from horizon to horizon, gathering its strength, getting ready to let out a crashing boom.
Then came the lightning. Bright flashes of strobe light following by crashing thunder. And finally came the rain. Drop by drop at first, then a steady stream. And then there was a lull. And then a deluge. Torrents of water fell from the sky. The wind thrashed the trees mercilessly as we stood fretting that the Arizona Ash was certain to finally fall on top of the Texas Redbud which bloomed so much this year.
Water poured off the eves, overwhelming the gutters, white caps spilling over the edges throwing a frothy mist upward in the wind. And then hail came. Gently at first, chinking against the windows. Then more earnestly, gathering white piles here and there. And then the onslaught began in earnest. Fallen hail covered the sidewalks. It floated in ice-jams in the streams of water running around the corner of the house. It looked like winter outside, such as it is in Texas.
And we thought of our tomatoes, as we seem to do at this time of year.
Think of them with us, those tomatoes that replaced the first crop that got caught in the freezes of several weeks ago. Those tomatoes that were starting to climb up their cages, that had begun putting out yellow blossoms. Those tomatoes that had given us renewed hope that we might actually get fruit before the heat of summer sets in.
Think of them and weep.
But then think of it, just think of it: all that rain.