The air smells of wounded pines and churning earth. Hail in sprawling drifts looks like snow, then piles of rough-cut diamonds, then destruction. The grass is flattened in the ditches, in our yard, and any depression, however small, is full of red mud water. The hail evaporates, feeding the growing presence of fog hanging heavy in the air.
After making it through all previous hail storms relatively unscathed, two weeks after the storm that took down a few trees and filled our ditches, our little valley was pounded again with rain and hail. An inch and a half of rain, and hail. The garden is gone, more trees and branches are down, and water is pouring into the dam. Even though it was too dark to see, I could hear water rushing in the corrals, in places where there is never water. Our ridge became a waterfall, and more rockslides happened.
The aftermath is quite enough to dampen spirits. Mom worked hard on the garden, and to a certain extent we were counting on it for this fall. However, I know God is good and gracious, and he is not a God of whim or malice. I think back to the pioneers, the first homesteaders, who weren’t just counting on their garden: their lives were depending on it. The survival of their crops meant enough money to buy food to last through the winter into the next growing season. It meant a surplus of five dollars to add to the dollar they already had in the bank. They depended on it. We only hoped our garden would turn out this year. It looks like it won’t. But I’m already working on some mental notes for a hail screen. Necessity is the mother of invention.