Thursday, October 18, 2012

Disappearing Rain

The western sky was ominously dark that morning. We were on about the third or fourth day of soybean harvest so we were still anxious. After all what would happen if it started raining and didn’t stop for several weeks (it's just like a farmer to worry about rain none-stop for weeks in the middle of a drought). Dad and I set our jaws and headed to the field, determined to harvest as many acres as we could before the impending monsoon overtook us.
We had made contingency plans, complete with an evacuation plan for the harvested soybeans and equipment. The weatherman was calling for heavy rains, possibly two days worth. Surely this was the start of the fabled rainy season. Our stress levels were at an all-time high, as we raced to the field, seemingly ahead of the line of storms headed our way.
Dad plunged into the field with the combine and the race was on. I quickly checked my so-called “smart” phone and watched the green squall line with imbedded bits of yellow and orange headed our way. I zoomed in and out, tracked the storm. I even looked at it with other radars on other sites; the storm had us squarely in its sights.
All of this information I relayed to Dad. At least I tried to relay it to Dad. My calls to him went unanswered; I was beginning to think he was screening his calls (later I found he had turned the ringer off on his phone). So impending was the storm that I thought about walking out into the field and flagging him down. I decided against this because I didn’t want to cost us a single minute. Earlier in the day we had decided that every acre we got out was one more we didn’t have to worry about in the upcoming wet season (more wishful thinking).
Finally, we had harvested enough soybeans to make a load. I carefully checked my now half dead “smart” phone. Did you ever wonder how can we develop phones with all the apps and abilities but not develop a battery with them that will last all day. My old phone used to go days on a battery, this “smart” phone only seems to last until 3:00, on a good day. Sorry for the rant, now back to the dilemma. The storm was bearing down on us, seemingly just 30 to 40 miles away. Did I have time to get the load to town?
I climbed up into the combine cab and Dad and I squinted at the tiny screen and watched the line of storms move toward us. A quick strategy meeting determined that I would take off for town (luckily the truck with the load was also the truck with working windshield wipers) and Dad would continue to harvest as much as he could before the imminent rain sent us to the barn.
I left for town watching the dark black clouds in the mirrors. The beginning of radar withdrawal was setting in. On the drive to town I started to think about what I would do on my rainy afternoon. I had several errands in town to run, paperwork to catch up on, or maybe I would clean the house as a surprise to my spouse. Oh who was I kidding, I was going to take a nap, and it was going to be a great nap. But first I had to deliver the load of beans to the elevator before they got wet.
I pulled into the elevator and unloaded quickly. I checked the radar one more time and noticed the storm had slowed in its approach. Great, it would buy me more time to get back to the field. The storm had also seemed to weaken a bit, but I dismissed this as wishful thinking. The weatherman had promised rain, and we all know they never go back on a promise.
I reached the field as the first drops hit the windshield, I could hear the couch calling my name that afternoon. After about a minute the drops started to smear the windshield and I turned the wipers on. After five more minutes the wipers had removed enough of the goo and mud for me to see out of a very small area. Then no more rain, the western sky had started to lighten.
I checked the radar one more time, on my now almost dead phone. The clouds had melted away, seemingly right over our field. We got no more than a few drops and the wind had picked up quickly drying off those few drops. Harvest would not be delayed, at least today. The big rainstorm had left me with only a smeared windshield and dashed hopes of a nap, and of course a dead “smart” phone. Well, I guess it wasn’t all bad.

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