It was a cool, seventy degrees with a pale overcast sky and a chill, unruly wind. Such was the morning on which I found myself drawn to a square, austere metal table located at the corner of a veranda at a small Starbucks of a ritzy shopping center. A green umbrella flapped its thick and shabby edges from gust to gust, scarcely providing any shelter or even adhering to any pretense of it. Everything was drenched- from the suddenly vibrant green shrubbery, the reddened, dark bark and wood, the aesthetically enhanced black pavement, resonating with echoes of a fierce storm. There before us was a red fire hydrant made starkly beautiful on the outer side of the black wrought iron fence framing the tables and the ever-peculiar coffee drinkers. It would appear that a thick smattering of sandy mud was caked down the side of the hydrant, and from whence it came I could not fathom.
I sipped on a latte, dark, sweet, and beautiful, as the wind snuck its piercing fingers like a shock beneath my scarf. I sipped at the hot foam, evoking nostalgic images of holiday bustle, Christmas tree shopping, and romantic adventures, without the slightest conscientious thought toward the facts that I was fighting an illness and thought it incomprehensible to sit in a church building or stay inside somewhere warm with tissues.
Such was the result, I infer, of the record summer in Oklahoma 2011. Fifty-two days of temperatures exceeding one hundred degrees. "The summer that never was," they say, recalling a hundred lost moments that would normally have been spent at poolsides or in parks or fishing. None of these things happened. In its place there were only a persistent pleading for some relief and a thankfulness for the modern amenities of air conditioning and indoor jobs.
So when the storm hit Edmond, Oklahoma on September 4th, at approximately eleven o'clock p.m., and the atmosphere filled with the unmistakable scent of rain, it was as a curse lifted. A season changed. A leaf turned. And we found a sort of redemption at last. And this redemption, as water on dry, thirsty terrain, permeated deeply into our souls.
The following morning, a kind of shock occurred- the same kind of electric thrill a child finds on Christmas morning, as I read the outdoor thermometer at sixty-nine degrees. And I was- and I think we all were- my husband, the exemplary, cheerful baristas (who did such an outstanding job that I found myself wanting to throw money at them), the church goers and dog walkers, all of us were suddenly, acutely aware of a newfound freedom. And so I drank it in slowly, with that scarf around my chilly neck, feeling absolutely, irreversibly, incandescently mad.
-written feverishly in a notebook with a feeble blue pen, in cursive