The weather forecast warned of cooling temperatures, showers, and possible thundershowers. I guessed a day of cloud cover, nothing more. I did hear some rain against the window early in the morning, but rolled over and shut my eyes. In fact the same seven drops are still on my window now. That may be the extent of it. I have listened to the ranchers all summer, watched my cousin’s hope turn to doubt and his doubt become cynicism, and that devolve to silence… just a single shake of the head in answer to the question of rain. I’ve had empathy and curbed my disappointment on these clouded days suggesting rain. The weather keeps me from drawing, but what is that against the loss of crops and selling off cows, the resulting loss of income and the set back to developing herds? I see the bales stacking up in everyone’s fields, but the stacks are small. Still, I am not a rancher and I have only really watched four rotations of summer, nothing close to enough to understand a drought summer’s impact.
Yesterday we hiked up Haymaker Narrows. I knew the stream was dry down at the Vestal Place, but I assumed there would be water at the Narrows. I was prepared for the crossings with water shoes strapped to my pack. Even though the streambed was dry where we parked, I expected water as we got higher up. But my hope also turned to doubt after each dry crossing. Even the deep pool where we usually turn around was dry. We tired ourselves from heat rather than from picking our way back and forth across the stream. This loss I understood in my body.