The annual reprieve is here- monsoon season. We desert dwellers look to the sky, to the dark clouds which form in the afternoon hours with hope. We need this, the nourishing rains, the plummeting temperature which follows in its wake. In an instant lightning rips across the sky, big fat drops kiss our face and we clap our hands in gratitude. Yes.
The desert hangs on to nothing, and water rushes and rushes, trying to return to the sea. It flows down alley ways and pooling only when contained. In a flood zone at the end of my street, the dusty embankement has given way to lush Johnson grass stands and puddles. But even in monsoon the water is not always enough.
I noticed the wriggling tadpoles after the season’s first big storm. The desert toad laid those fertilized eggs remains unknown to me; I’ve never heard their mating song at dusk, or seen one hopping around in the grass. But there they were, thousands of tadpoles in the seasonal water stand. Undulating and undulating, some of them clumping together, some perpetually pushing forward, on and on. Countless miracles, nearly in my own backyard.
But then things dried up. The puddles shrank, retreated. The tadpoles become a writhing mass in the small amount of remaining water. I prayed to the God of Rain to bless us thoroughly and quickly, thousands of tadpoles depended on this. I prayed to the God of Frogs that they may develop preternaturally quickly. My prayers went unanswered; yesterday they had evaporated along with the puddle, leaving behind only a greyish film in the center of a mud ring.
It made me hate the kind of world were thousands of beautiful creatures live and die in a breath. The waste, the injustice.
But then today the rain returned. Again the streets flowed, water pooled, and there are tadpoles once more. Well developed, survivors transplanted from other puddles perhaps. I watch them undulate with a renewed sense of gratitude. With a renewed sense of hope.