On the chance of rain

There is a 40 per cent chance of rain this weekend. Living in Texas, however, has made me skeptical. Rain keeps the planet green, but in Texas rain is scarce and comes at a premium. I know that predicting rain is a rough business, especially when you are dealing with the weather two, three, or four days out. The further out you go, the more accuracy goes down. Talking about the weather a week from today is just pure fantasy. I have often thought that predicting rain during a drought is bad luck. I love rain, but living in Central Texas or Madrid means that I seldom see rain. My summers are full of plenty of sunshine and warm weather. When the weather man or woman comes on the television with promises of liquid precipitation I almost always respond with a great deal cynicism, you see, because it so seldom rains where I am. Umbrellas go to my house and office to die of boredom. Mother Nature scoffs at me and taunts me by dropping a half dozen drops on my car while I drive to work–just enough to mess up my clean car, but not enough keep the grass alive. Or I drive through a downpour on the way home only to find that at my house it never rained at all. In Texas, a chance of rain might mean that the searing climate might moderate for a couple of days, that the cracks in the ground might disappear for a few days, that you won’t have to water the grass for awhile. The chance of rain is only too often a mirage, a dream, a hope unfulfilled. Day after day of 95 and sunny, though pleasant, is also boring in the extreme. The smell of wet earth floating in the air is a primitive smell that provokes all sorts of childhood memories of dark warm late-summer thunderstorms. A chance of rain might ruin your picnic, or make driving difficult. A chance of rain could mess up your hair, or cause you to cancel your tennis match. Funny, but I can’t remember the last time rain made me change my plans.