Friday, May 31, 2013

The Wonder of Rain

Texas native and WWW member Chris Bradley shares a post from her Practicing Wonder blog on water, the Texas Hill Country and what incites our wonder and writing. (Don't forget to complete the writing prompts at the end of the post!) 

Mexican hat, also called prairie coneflower

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water. --Loren Eiseley

Here in the Texas hill country on this May Saturday morning, it’s been raining off and on for the past thirty hours or so. The forecast for the next few hours is for more thunderstorms, so I zipped outside just now during a break between showers to take the photos pictured here.

Scabiosa or pincushion flower
These pincushion blooms are beaten down by the rain but will perk up even stronger when the sun returns.

Limestone pitted by the rain holds water naturally.
A limestone step holds rain while mother-of-thyme luxuriates in the moisture.

Blackfoot daisy
A blackfoot daisy holds onto raindrops.

I had to chuckle when I read the following line from the National Weather Service forecast for our locale:  Weather conditions will improve significantly this evening into Sunday.

Really? The weather can’t get any better that what it is right now.

My birth occurred at the end of the seven year drought in this part of Texas in the 1950’s. My parents were part of a generation who came of age during the Great Depression, served the United States during World War II, and then, during the early years of their marriage, scratched out a living farming and ranching for those seven years of drought with practically no precipitation.

(If you want to read a brilliant and literary description of the difficulties of that era in Texas, read Elmer Kelton’s novel The Time It Never Rained. During the time of that drought, Kelton worked as an agricultural reporter and said he spent seven years trying every day to think of some other way to write, “Still dry.”)

So it isn’t surprising that my parents were experts in making do, building from scratch, and doing without. And they impressed those values on their children.

One of Daddy’s favorite jokes was: “You can never have too much rain or too many white-faced baby calves. We almost had too much rain one time. [Here he paused before the punchline.] There was three feet of water in the courthouse.”

We’re in a drought right now that compares in scope and severity with the extremely difficult years that so influenced my parents and their peers. Today’s rain is a only a move in the right direction, not the end of overall dire conditions, but it rejuvenates my spirits as it perks up the plants in my garden. They're tough (like my parents), selected for our often arid heat, but they love the rain. I can almost hear them singing.

It’s heartening to see water do its magic.

Writing Practice:

Complete the following: If there is magic on this planet, it _____________ .

Complete the following: My parents were of a generation who _____________.

For quite a few years, Chris Bradley taught English and creative writing to high school students in the Texas hill country. She now has time to travel, garden, ride horses, and mountain bike, but she still misses those discussions with students and continues to be thankful for all the lessons which they taught her.


Alice Trego said...

Great post, Chris! Thanks for sharing your part of the Texas hill country, the recent rains and your creative writing prompts.

I am in love with the Texas hill country! When the WWW Conference was in San Antonio a few years ago, two WWWers, Joyce Lohse and Gwyn Ramsey, and I visited Boerne. My now most favorite place! And we missed Elmer Kelton's booksigning by one day!

Hope to see you at a WWW Conference soon!

Chris Bradley said...

Thank you so much, Alice. Boerne is a beautiful area, and that's about 45 minutes from where I live. I was lucky enough to meet Elmer Kelton at a conference a number of years ago. Sadly, we have lost his unique voice. I so appreciate your reading and taking the time to comment. Please visit and share my blog at

Heidiwriter said...

It really IS a miracle when you've had several years of drought, bare, cracked earth with not a sprig of green--then it rains--and it's Paradise! That's what I experienced growing up on the high plains desert of eastern Montana and I suspect that's what will happen here in north-central AZ as well.

My grandparents went through the "dirty thirties" in northern Montana and had to trail 100 head of horses 400 miles from Cut Bank to Salmon, Idaho, looking for grass.

Chris Bradley said...

Thank you for reading and commenting. My older brother tells of going with our father to leased pasture where there had been some rain, and he didn't recognize what he was seeing when he saw running water. The creeks at home had been mostly dry for all his memory.

Have you written your grandparents' story? That must have been quite a (400 mile) trip!