All summer long the thunderstorms arrived on schedule in the afternoon. It was a world of green and dripping moss and buzzing insects. You could hear the grapevine and greenbrier snaking through the camelia beds.
And then Hurricane Matthew rolled up the east coast and snatched it all away. A switch had been flipped. Every day was perfect blue skies and hints of autumn. It was pleasant to be out at night.
The grass grew crunchy and pale yellow.
Four weeks and we were pulling long watering hoses across the front lawn.
Five weeks and the newspaper ran an article. Longest dry spell in two decades they said. There are no more tree frogs on the kitchen window.
Six weeks. Wildfires across southern Appalachia. Leaves are drooping. 60 year old azaleas wilt and beg for a drink. The sweet gums turn orange and the sumac turns crimson.
Seven weeks. A sprinkle in the morning and then nothing. You hope. You fear. The air is warm and moist and you can feel it being sucked north from the Gulf of Mexico. It practically smells like fish.
And then tonight it rains. A good rain that leaves puddles. Slick tires hissing on pavement. Water dripping off the eaves. This is always when Tallahassee is at its best. At night after a rain.