In the country, dust and heat on summer solstice day in Texas compress the air and stifle activity unless pickup doors close and air conditioning is set to near maximum. Cattle bunch up under the shade of mesquite and live oak, chewing cud, panting and resting. Highway construction workers — I see them between Mingus and Abilene — don white, flowing bandannas about their neck, issuing profiles of Bedouin upon the Arabian desert. The workers move slowly, crumbling with drills and backhoes the old asphalt so that concrete may be laid for continental traffic. They toil for dollars, but mostly for future mirages in far-off lands.
So dry, the forest service retorts, that in the recorded weather history of Texas, no drier period between last October and May has occurred. As the sun set two days ago, smoke from wildfires westward turned the sun blood-red and I thought of all the science fiction tales that speak of dying worlds, collapsing stars and barren wastes of uninhabitable planets.
But yesterday evening, thunder and lightening came through the ranchito with rain that pooled ever so briefly on the county road, setting new potholes that I will not regret. The sky, the air turned yellow, yellowish-green, and in the east where the squall line flew, the darkest blue set the mantlepiece for a rainbow, two of them, in the sky. How infinite the patterns of the weather for one day the sun scorches the veld and the next day reflects the colors of rainbows. Flame and rainbow melt. The colors drape beautifully, artfully, upon a landscape that nourishes life and hope again, an elegant form that rests against me. Dust and heat will come again, I know. But yesterday a rainbow colored my sky and will again.