Before you read this you have to know that southern Wisconsin has been in one of the worst draughts in years. We haven't had rain for over a month and a half. All the grass is dead, brown and crunchy. Corn crops across the area are almost gone. Heat advisories have been keeping most people indoors. This summer has looked and felt like an apocalypse.
I fell asleep in the middle of cleaning today. Woke up two hours later, looked out the window, leaped up, raced to the door with my camera and started taking shots.
You would think I'd never seen rain before in my life. Then again, you would think no one else had either. Almost all my neighbors were at their windows or outside in the downpour. Several of us had cameras and were snapping away. The kids were screaming and giggling and running through the puddles. One woman just stood there - hands turned toward the sky, her head back and her eyes closed, feeling the rain on her face.
Down the street the drains were plugged up with water and a mini-lake had formed next to our parking lot. Drivers each took their turn at the challenge. Some carefully snuck through at a crawl. Some idled around and eyed-up the situation (trying to decide whether they should ford the river or attempt to caulk the wagon and float it). Others surged on ahead spraying the small crowd that had gathered to watch the growing puddles.
I checked our own drain in our basement garage to see that it was almost completely stopped up with leaves. I stabbed at it with my broom for a while until my neighbor came down and used his snow shovel to help me clear the rest out. He had just come back from a soccer game that, at first, was almost canceled due to the heat. It turns out it got called on account of rain and low visibility. He said it's a no go when you have to bend over at a 90 degree angle just to see the ball.
Why is it that it takes severe and unusual weather to bring people together and outside? I met more of my neighbors today than I ever have. I got to see a whole crowd of people genuinely smiling and thankful at something as simple as a summer storm. Sans the lack of water, I wish we had moments like this more often.