|Illustration by Diane and Leo Dillon*|
I live in one of this summer's drought-stricken states, Texas. Texans have long suffered hot summers and done so with no small degree of toughness and pride. This summer for me, however, has been like no other in my lifetime. This summer's drought and high temperatures have made the weather a source of death and destruction. Trees that have graced these plains for three generations or more have died. Ranchers had to sell entire herds of cattle, because there was no way to water or feed them. This leaves them with very uncertain futures, because starting another herd from scratch is overwhelming in every way, including economically. The wheat crop is a disaster, gone and done. Cotton did some better, but not well enough not to punish its producers.
|Where once there was water|
|The young Kite|
But back to C.S. Lewis's novel and the gods that appear in it. Just when I had reached a level of distress over our weather, four days after I drove down a highway where a parched brown forest now borders the shoulders of the road, a cool wind arrived. The temperature dropped from 108 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit. And then: and then the unthinkable. It rained. The first drop of rain in three months. I went outside and stood in it, as I had promised myself I would do if the rain would just visit us once again. This was no rain I wanted to be protected from. This was God-given rain I wanted to embrace. A reminder that, indeed, the gods have not taken weather from us, that just as the weather the gods give us can threaten and destroy, it can also soothe and restore.
*The illustration by Diane and Leo Dillon was used for the cover of the Time Life edition of Till We Have Faces. The caption links to an article about these award-winning illustrators.