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  • Writer's pictureWILLIAM HAZEL

The First Rain

As spring begins its reign there comes a time for the first warm hard rain. I toast the solstice. Celebrate transition. Watch the yard quick yellow dandy. But it doesn’t start in my heart until the first rain.

And so, we unfolded the folding chairs to face the fastmoving clouds fold rolling from the west and north. The sky only clouds. When it all looks like rain, feels like rain, smells like rain, without the rain.

The stillness of the backyard a quieting contrast to the great swiftness aloft. A flock of waxwings talk amongst themselves in the mid-branches of the mimosa still winter nude. Chickadees wing-hop the top of the young maple voicing like Ry Cooder slide acoustics. The humid damp fence edges mix the smell of pine with the inching grasses.

The bottom of the sky flashes horizon wide yellow. The warm against cold radar lines red, distinct and defined. Over the bay and nearing. The sky darkens. The air still still. Spring on the skin feeling like those minutes after a hot bath. The pore-opening cling stinging pleasantly deeper than expected.

The thunder sounds unrushed. One and then two and a third base drum pound filling the sprawling hall. The edge of the land pulls the clouds lower, and the sky flashes fast blinding. The birds agree the time has come for cover. All the birds. The robins and the cardinals and the finches and those first two hummingbirds and the great redtail. All wing away knowing.

And the treetops hard yield to the downdrafts hauling life earthward. Clouds of pollen and dry ground and untended dead-fallen rush about without direction. And then the thunder feels more within than surrounding. Commanding one to stand.

Stand in that swift suspended moment before the sky gives everything back to the land.

Stand in that place and time of choosing.

1. Cover photo by author.

© Copyright William Hazel, 2024

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