The Season of Rain and Death

Letter From Texas

A blood-red sun is setting on the horizon, distant but familiar, dull but glowing, like the bloodshot eye of a wounded Titan.  Layers of pasty-blue, thin, translucent clouds drape the blood-eye image, as if they themselves were the misty, cloudlike shimmerings of heat rising from the sunbaked pavement, cooled by a late-summer rain.  I stand transfixed by the red orb’s terrible beauty, framed in a border of scrubby trees and mesquite bushes, still damp from the week of heavy rains that have mercifully soaked the parched ground that had come to look strangely like the surface of distant Mars: Deep canal-like channels showed through the thinning grass, imitating the look of cooling lava.  The grass has been grateful, miraculously transforming itself from clumps of brown death to a wide expanse of green life in the space of a few days.

Drought had followed a wet, gloriously green spring, as if Providence were reminding us of the transitory nature of terrestrial life, but now the rains have come again.  And the temperature has hovered well below 100 degrees for more than a week, a harbinger of the almost imperceptible Texas fall.

Gradually, the moon rises, and the faint clouds dissipate into the encroaching darkness.  The moon’s dark continents float in a sea of milky ocean, the glow from the surrounding towns’ lights throwing a splash of purple into the inky night that encircles the...

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