Friday, January 31, 2014

Rainy Words

There is a thirst here in this rescued desert, a water table wanting. In 2013 some areas in California received less than half the previous worst year’s rainfall on record. On the radio listeners are sending in their rain-songs and kindergarten classes doing rain-dances. Come on sky, let it go!  Rain on picnics. Call off the ball game. Wake-up windshield wipers. I want to see kids floating popsicle-sticks down the gutter-rivers, umbrellas blooming like peonies, Gene Kelly splashing. Where are you Ethel Waters, Gale Storm and Claude Rains? I’m thinking downpour. I’m concentrating on puddles. I’m waiting with a bucket for my roof to leak. Go ahead, rain on my parade. It's raining, it's pouring. The old man is snoring.

I’m remembering, fondly, the trips Peggy and I took when it rained. There was a deluge that day in Delft and roofs had a glisten to them seen from across the water where Vermeer stands in our memory on the cobbles of the town square, a palette of tulips covered with drops congealed like pearl earrings while in the field cows chewed wet grass, their cud going to milk and back to that pitcher he caught the maid pouring as if from her breast.

Because of rain we stole a kiss or two.
The cloudy day gave way to skies of blue.
We must thank that moisty, misty window pane.
We found our love because of rain.

It also rained in that seaside town we’ll never forget whose name we can never remember. We watched from our window the Atlantic churning against rocks going to pebbles going to sand. In the aftermath we walked under a wheel of gulls and a carbonated night sky spreading an enormous calm on the beach. Waves found their own insistent music.  We took that rhythm inside, our own turbulence going from Beethoven’s Ode to a Chopin adagio.

Albany rain torrential and relentless in its spillage turned streets to gullies and dips in the road to tubs as we sloshed our way into the restaurant, sat by the fire celebrating our willingness to be lucky and how we ended each other’s drought, lives like plants parched then quenched.

Now I am thinking Hiroshige wood-block prints of fine rain, a canvas of verticals and bodies under parasols running for shelter. I’m imagining snow falling on cedar and a blizzard of petals from cherry trees. Landscapes of white rolling hills. Let it cover the Sierras with drifts as wide as a blank page and now let it slip-slide away.

I started writing this on Thursday under a partial sun and when I finished the streets were wet. I’m prepared to take credit for a fraction of an inch.

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