Rain. Everyday. Pouring down, for as long as we could remember. There was always rain. We were sick of rain. We hated the damp muggy air. We hated the sticky warmness that never left. We were tired of being wet. Of staring out the window unable to play outside because of the mud.
Our parents old us in their youth, rain did not fall so often. After it rained, they felt refreshed and the earth was so beautiful. We wondered what that was like – refreshed. We were too soaked, too waterlogged to know. They said after it rained everything was lovely because the plants would sparkle with the droplets still on them and the sky was such a beautiful blue. And sometimes, they could see the rainbow. We’ve never seen a blue sky or a rainbow in all our lives. The skys were always grey. The sun never stood a chance against the rain. And plants? All the best soil had been washed away long ago. We fished for a living. There was no chance for farming. We had to import our vegetables. And by the time they reached us they tasted of rain. We prayed and sacrificed daily for the rain to stop. Not one god neglected, not one altar left empty. Every chalice in every temple was filled to the brim with our blood.
We remember clearly the day the rain stopped. It was the day of the summer solstice when our parents had long been buried and we were beginning to grow long white beards and rely on canes. We woke up near dawn to a strange silence. We lay in our beds wondering what was wrong and then we realized we could not hear the water beating at our walls. We opened our eyes and the brightest light met our eyes. We shut them again quickly, for we had never seen a light so pure and clear we could barely see. Those of my generation must have thought we were losing our sight and hearing. And we ventured outside. The ground was still muddy, but there was not a drop of rain in the sky. The clouds we hated so were gone. We had a great feast that night. With a bonfire outside – imagine OUTSIDE, for there was no rain to extinguish it. We made a great sacrifice to the gods and we rejoiced in our luck.
The rain never returned. The ground dried up. We tried to be farmers but failed. The best soil had been washed away long ago. There were plenty of fish to be had and the rivers were deep and long, so we lived very comfortably. But some of us worried. What if the rivers dried up? What would we do then? We could not hunt, for we had cut all the forests down for firewood. We could not farm, and we could not trade for there was nothing to trade. Our children and grandchildren laughed at these thoughts and assured us they would be fine. The rivers could never dry. They could dig wells. And surely, if they prayed enough, the gods would send them rain again.
They were wrong. Constant sun dried up the rivers. Our land was so dry the dust flew in great walls when the wind was strong. We, who had never known thirst, suddenly felt the agony of parched lips and throats and we dreamed of the rain in our youth. We spoke of it as the greatest time in our lives when decades ago we had cursed it and prayed for it to cease. How foolish we were then! When the clouds came, we were happy for we thought our prayers had been answered and we were to enjoy rain once more. But rain never came. The feeble members of my generation died soon after. The rest of us went with the clouds.