We took another trip up into Karma tonight. We patrolled up through the town and cut east, out through the area in which coalition forces recently took a bite out of al-Qaeda's anti-aircraft capability. One bomb crater nearly blocked the road in one spot- another was visible a short distance off the road. We spent four or five hours heading out to our turnaround spot, with dark clouds menacing their showers over the entire trip. Rainstorms are refreshing, once in a while, but they also mean more work spent drying and cleaning ammunition and weapons.
The clouds finally broke as we were driving back out of Karma. Rain drummed fitfully on the roof- just enough to obscure the road, but never quite enough to need the wipers full time. Lightning shot blue fire across the sky. Somewhere to the south, a bolt of lightning hit the power grid, and the horizon light up with the turquoise strobes of exploding transformers. Distant lights began to wink out and disappear- the oncoming tide of blackness washed ever closer as transformers continued to light up the sky. The blue light was joined by the steadily flashing golden pink glow of a downed power line. As we continued to roll towards Camp Falluja, we passed the power line still sparking and glowing on top of a concertina fence. The air smelled sharply of ozone- it also smelt cleaner than it has in weeks.
The rain also lead to the first pang of homesickness that I've felt in a while. After we got back, I walked out under the netting that covers the entryway to my buddy's tent. The netting is a fine, sand colored mesh that block the sun. It also breaks up the rain into a fine mist, with larger droplets that break and fall occasionally from the net. I stood underneath the netting with my eyes closed, smelling the suddenly fresh air, and thinking of the rain in the forests on the coast that was so similar to what I felt tonight thousands of miles away.
Just a few more months now.