Other misfortunes occur. The skies overflow, the earth fissures, the winds erupt. The great disaster is a great event, a cataclysm. With droughts nothing happens. All is quiet and still.
Summer turns to fall, to winter, to spring, and then to summer again. The seasons circle, until the circling slows and grinds. The supposed inexorable is deferred, and then no longer deferred, it is withheld. Fall slips by winter, heading off toward spring.
I recall those ancient minds that transformed provincial floods into global calamities. No doubt the did the same for droughts. All the world became a desert. And had it not? Who had seen otherwise? As far as they knew it, the Earth had gone dry. The thought might have been a comfort, or it might have been a dread, but it was not cruel. They had not been singled out. They did not suffer the misfortune alone.
I cannot enjoy this conceit. Storms are there beyond the eye’s horizon. They float above the water’s curve, diverging and dissipating before arrival. The Earth itself has not gone dry. We can know this. We do know this. We have been singled out. We suffer this misfortune alone. That is a cruelty afforded by today’s grand perspectives.
Other misfortunes end because they exhaust themselves in their occurrence. They happen and can endure no longer. Droughts do not carry their durations within them. They are delays that end only when displaced from without. The storms finally arrive. The seasons circle once more, and all again seems inexorable. So the drought concludes. Until then all is quiet and still.