I did not know the evils of the human heart, did not know you could cry and rail against God and have no more power than an insect over drouth or fever or blood kin turning against you. I did not know that your beloved could be snatched from you in the drawing of a breath, in the frigid new-moon darkness of a January night. Yes, I knew about Mama, but my mother’s death was too big, it was the guiding force of my existence, then and always, and I could no more see it than I could see gravity. I didn’t yet have the sense in me that death was the condition of all life, and so I did not fear it. And I did not much fear bears or panthers or cottonmouths, because I’d seen Papa kill too many, knew they were just blood and entrails that could be torn apart with a lead ball or cartridge shell.
— besides everything else that is right with this passage from Rilla Askew’s The Mercy Seat, I am astonished at how much “drouth” in the place of “drought” does.