We went for a walk today right after breakfast. The sun was shining. The air was mild. The neighborhood turkeys (that's the birds, not the people who live down the block) were out and about. It was a delightful morning.
Okay, that may sound boring to you. To us, it's about the most exciting thing that's happened for a couple of weeks. It's June in the Black Hills: gardens are planted, schools are out, and tourists are arriving. And it's been raining. We've had one cold, gray, drizzly day after another, and we've almost forgotten what the sun looks like.
True, the grass is lush and green, though it is beginning to exhibit a rather sickly yellowish tone. The tomato plants seem smaller than they were when they were planted, huddled into themselves with their leaves curled in what appears to be a vain attempt to keep warm. The mother robin on her nest under the deck has been sitting stoically under the incessant drips coming through the space between the boards above her head. At least she's eating well; there are earthworms all over the yard, presumably driven aboveground by flooding.
It's so wet here that Rapid City is beginning to feel like Seattle or Portland. We don't want to live in Seattle or Portland. If we did, we would move there.
South Dakota used to be the Sunshine State until the tourism marketing people decided to change its official nickname to the Mount Rushmore State. No doubt that makes a certain amount of sense. After all, other places, like Florida and Arizona, have plenty of sunshine, but there is only one Mount Rushmore.
Yet, nickname change or not, we still feel like the Sunshine State. Our winter days are invigorating, our autumn days are crisp, our spring days are mild, and our summer days are long—because they're blessed with ample sunshine. Day after day of gray moisture just isn't what we're used to here in western South Dakota.
It's not that we don't appreciate the rain. In this generally dry area, moisture is sometimes surprising and almost always welcome. But after a while, all the humidity, all the green, and the constant gray skies simply don't feel normal. Lush just isn't us. We're more accustomed to complaining about the rain we "sure could use" than enjoying the rain we "sure are getting."
Yes, moisture is a blessing, but we've been blessed enough for now, thank you. We're ready for some sunshine.
I read with great interest your column today. We are experiencing the same kind of weather here in Vermillion. It started out as another dark, heavily overcast morning and then the rain came, hard, heavy and staight down without a hint of wind, nor thunder nor lightening. After hours of rain, it now has fizzled down to a mist. And the guage shows 1.60 of rain. Ginny’s garden is a weed patch but it has been too muddy to hoe. Miss Kitty, our cat, finds a warm a lap and is content. Thanks for another week’s column..