Last night it rained for the first time in what felt like months. Fat, steady drops fell from the soft night sky, poured off of building eves, gathered into reflective beads on my jacket as I walked slowly home from work. The air, so often lately hot and brittle, swelled with cold wet and the smell of live soil and roots. I tilted my face to the sky, arms raised at last! at last! rejoicing in the rain.

Since our mild winter ended, long stretches of sunny, cloudless 70 degree days have taken over. We’ve had flirtations with precipitation–long days during which the heat and clouds gather and thunder growls along Sopris’s ridges. A smell fills the air, subtle and fresh, a hint of moisture typically absent in our high, dry climate. The smell teases the nose the day through until–just when you’ve grown tired of gazing at the stacked clouds and checking your watch wondering ‘when?’–the sky cracks open. Raindrops pelt the dusty ground like bullets, wind gathers and swirls, trees sway gracefully, their short trunks shiny from the watery sheen. You gasp, exhale and inhale again so deeply your lungs feel likely to burst at the pressure. Breathe deeply now, you know, let your lungs and skin absorb as much moisture as they can.

Because, in five minutes or less, the rain squal is over.

The clouds part, sun blasts through the open spaces, Sopris gleams white snow and black rock. The sidewalks are slick. The leaves drip. And dry.

So to have a rain that lasts all night is almost too wonderful to imagine. It reminds me of my early days back east when rain would last for days, not merely a single night. Back east where one can grow tired of the rain when it falls too much, too fast, too long. I crave those stretches of stormy days, long to hear drops smacking window panes, and to see layers and folds of dark clouds.

The day after the night-long rain, I woke just after dawn as usual. I peeled back the curtain and peered up at the morning sky, hoping to see white and grey, not blue. Hoping I’d have another day to breathe deep and dance in the falling drops. Alas, this is Colorado where the sun shines at least 300 days each year. Outside the sky was endless blue and the sun was bursting boldy over the foothills of Sopris.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.