A band of clouds rolls in overhead like horses thundering but brings with it no rain. It’s summer. And the hot August air wraps itself around the woods and town that is surrounded by them like a damp wool blanket. It hangs between trees and around cars and houses, making everything feel stale and stagnant, bloated with heat. The leaves and grass are dry and turning a sharp yellowbrown. The small crops are beginning to die and the folks in town are losing hope that the rain will come in time to save what is left. It is all over. Everywhere this feeling of death, dryness, loss of hope.
It’s been four months since the last rain and the small yard around Magdalene’s house has dried up and is now dusty and brown. The grass is clumped in small dry patches that wilt under the dust and the sun. A breeze occasionally stirs up the little twisters of dirt and hay that snake across the the yard, turning into clouds of dust which then settle on the ground and the dead dry grass. But what is needed and is being prayed for by everyone is a good rain to soak up this dust, to get into this soil and revive the sick and thirsty earth.