By June Mathews, Of a Certain Age
Remember the terrible drought we had here in Alabama a few summers ago? I do, but barely. It’s become a distant, dreamlike memory, something that happened in another lifetime, now washed away in all the rain we’ve been having lately.
Seems like we can’t go more than a day or two without a downpour, and I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of it. I hate to appear ungrateful, especially considering the detrimental effects drought can have on the environment, the economy, and our everyday lives. So just to make myself clear: I’m tremendously grateful for the gift of water, but right now I could be just as grateful for a little less.
Even Noah, safely sheltered on a prehistoric cruise ship with his family and two animals of every kind, must have spent a fair portion of the trip fed up with the continuing deluge and dampness. And I can’t begin to imagine how he and Mrs. Noah coped with a family too long together in close quarters and likely suffering from a raging collective case of cabin fever.
Think, too, about the number of bad hair days all the females on board must have experienced. That alone would have been enough to do me in – until it came time to deal with the housework, that is. Just the thought of being cooped up in a confined, even if sizable, space with all those stinky critters for days on end makes me cringe.
There was a time in my life – when I was much younger and more naïve than I am now – that I thought riding around in an ark filled with animals for 40 days would be akin to a magical Disney-type vacation. Then I grew up and learned there’s nothing magical about tending even a small menagerie. I have trouble making sure two dogs are properly cared for.
And about that 40 days thing… The preschool version of Noah’s story, the one we’re all most familiar with, vastly oversimplifies the true timeline of the journey. Forty is only the number of days the rain lasted. The total number of days the Noahs stayed in the ark – from the time they shut themselves in until they reopened the door and walked back down the gangplank – was an estimated 370!
That meant a little over a year of feeding and watering every kind of animal imaginable – times two – then shoveling the resulting waste day after day after day. Then there’s the time and effort spent yelling at the dogs to stop chasing the cats, keeping the tigers from picking fights with the bears, and convincing the coyotes that a nice handful of berries will taste much better than those fat, juicy bunnies two cages over.
Plus, you’ve got those icky creatures like snakes and spiders and alligators to contend with. I can’t even look at pictures of those things without getting the heebie-jeebies. And sleeping on the same boat with them every night for over a year? Unless I’m in a coma, it ain’t happenin’, folks.
Come to think of it, maybe the rainy spell we’re experiencing right now isn’t so bad after all. At least we’re still in an ark-free zone, and our heads remain above water, albeit some higher than others. And we shouldn’t have to worry about the local vegetation drying out anytime soon.
But, hey! As I write this, the sun is attempting the break through the clouds, and the prospect of an hour or two of brightness – if not outright sunshine due to predicted showers moving our way – is luring me away from my desk. So I’d better run. The moment won’t last long, and the thought of a puddle-less walk around the neighborhood without an umbrella is too much to resist.
Email June Mathews at email@example.com.