Dry open landscape in Central California with rain clouds in the distance.

Rain like some mythical benediction, many miles to the north. About ten minutes later I hit a blowing dust storm and pulled over in Avenal, which seemed slightly nicer than the surrounding towns until I saw the giant megaprison that employs nearly everyone here since the farming dried up. I sat in a diner while the sun set and people wandered out to peer at the sky and, after a few drops hit the sidewalk then ceased, shuffled back to their business. After this I paid my tab and walked out into a stultifying night heavy with dogwood and diesel. It was time to go home.