This time last year my garden and grass were burnt to a crisp. The wonderful rains that we had in April and May simply stopped in June and didn’t begin again until September. It was as if some great hand from above turned the spigot off.
The lakes that supply drinking water to area communities were being depleted. Ponds in pastures turned into baked mud holes. People whose lawns looked green and fresh beside their neighbors brown yards were looked at with scorn. It was a very interesting and scary time with all of us asking, “Would it ever rain again?”
As a crow flies, I live about 200 miles away from the coast in northwest South Carolina, an area referred to as the foothills. Beyond these foothills, to the west, are the Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond this mountain range are the Great Smoky Mountains.
In the Summer we rely primarily on afternoon thunderstorms for our moisture. Most of these storms are short and very isolated. It can be raining over my house but a mile away bone dry. Some of these storms can be very violent particularly if you are out riding a bicycle. But in the Summer what brings the most moisture, and the best soaking rains are Tropical Storms and Hurricanes such as the latest one T. S. Cindy.
We typically get the remnants of major storms that hit the Atlantic coast from Florida to the North Carolina border and the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida. These storms will make landfall and move North or Northwest, right in our path. Fortunately, by the time they get to us and hit the mountain wall they are no longer destructive, just much-needed rain.
I hate to root for a couple of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes each Summer because I have seen, first hand, the devastation one can cause people who bare the brunt of their power and force. Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston, SC in 1989 and wreaked havoc not only on the coast but as far inland as Charlotte, NC. My in-laws owned a beach house North of Charleston which survived Hugo with just some minor damage but the house in front of them, 100 yards away, was completely destroyed. My sister, who lived in Charlotte at the time, spent the night in the dirt crawl space under her house when Hugo hit. Her neighborhood was injured when a tree crashed into her bedroom at 4 o’clock in the morning. But what Hugo did for my community was provide us with rain and some wind. We needed the rain. We could have done without the wind.
So as I sat in my den last night listening to the remnants of T. S. Cindy sprinkle rain on my parched lawn and garden I thought about the families in Louisiana who are in the process of cleaning up after this storm. The news reports are it could have been much worse but homes and communities were still flooded, lives were disrupted, and property was damaged. This was the cost that was paid for me to keep my grass-green and my tomato plants productive. In the end it was a heavy price to pay.