By Sharon Randall

What a difference a day can make. For two weeks, while I visited family in the Carolinas, it rained more or less every day.

A lot more, really, than less.

I love rain. Like many Southern children, I learned to swim walking home from school in a cloudburst.

I don’t get to see much rain these days living in the desert outside Las Vegas. I miss it — the sound of it drumming on a tin roof, the smell of it sweetening the air, the feel of it warm on my skin. I was hoping to get a taste of it again; a taste, yes, not a steady diet.

But as my grandmother used to say about the weather or life in general, “It’ll be what it is.” And so it was.

It certainly didn’t stop me from talking and eating. I can talk and eat in any weather.

It also didn’t stop me from spending hours sitting on my sister’s porch watching the leaves on the trees begin to show their fall colors.

It’s a little like watching paint dry, only slower. I took breaks, of course, to talk and eat, but I never grew weary, never quite got my fill of watching Nature do her autumn dance. I doubt I will ever tire of that.

At first, the rain felt like a summer storm, steamy, like lifting a lid and holding your face over a pot of boiling water.

But when the rain kept falling, and the parched red earth turned to thick red soup, and the temperature dropped 20 degrees, the pot began to cool from boiling to simmer.

The day I picked my brother up to go out to lunch, the clouds parted briefly and he was waiting for me in the swing outside his apartment.

Blind all his life, he knows the sound of my footsteps as well as I know the shape of his stubborn chin. I can never manage to sneak up on him.

“Hey, sister,” he said, lighting up, “good to see you!”

I sat beside him, pushing the swing with my toe, fast, the way I did when we were kids. He laughed recalling how I once flung us into the yard.

We lingered a while like old times, talking and swinging, until the clouds started spitting again. Then we drove to a Wade’s restaurant and ordered pretty much everything on the menu.

Between bites, he talked about the pieces of his life, going to church on Sundays and Wednesdays, listening to Clemson games on the radio.

After his first wife died of cancer and a second marriage didn’t work out, he doesn’t hold a lot of hopes, he said, for ever finding a companion.

“You never know,” I said. “When you’re not looking, love can sneak up and find you.”

He knows my story, how love found me. He nodded, smiling, then asked for more bread.

On my last morning in town, it was so cold on my sister’s porch I needed a blanket and an extra cup of coffee. The leaves weren’t showing much color yet, but it felt for sure like fall.

I packed, said my goodbyes and drove for two hours to the airport dodging accidents in the worst rain I’d ever seen.

Five hours later, I landed in Vegas, extraordinarily happy to see the moon and the stars and the lights along the Strip and, God bless him, my husband.

The next morning, despite what the calendar said, it was summer — sunshine, blue skies, float-in-the-pool kind of day.

The forecast says it won’t last; cooler temps are on the way. I say it’ll be what it is.

Sometimes when you think you’re in the autumn of your life, summer will come sneaking up to find you.

I need to call my brother and tell him that. Life will be what it is. But you never know what a difference a day will make.

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