from The Meadow
Virga is when rain falls and fails to reach the earth, beautiful and useless as the vistas it elaborates. Most angels aren’t allowed to touch the ground. We pray for real rain to save the pasture; when it doesn’t come we pray for rain to keep the timber from burning. Dry lightning pokes at the timber’s green dress. Almost every summer there’s a major forest fire somewhere near. Every year we don’t disappear in fire we pray our thanks. The summer Lyle died, fires in Yellowstone four hundred miles away smoked us in so we couldn’t see the barn from the house. The sun was gone for weeks. It never did rain, though all summer long flotillas of sheepish clouds sailed in and tried to look like rain. They turned dark and sexual. They let down their hair, like brushstrokes on the air, like feathers of water, like the principle it was named for, sublime indifference its gesture, its lovely signature over us.