I think I warned readers that sometimes I will print here things I didn’t print elsewhere . . or anywhere. . because there was really no place to go with it. Who wants to read about a rainy day in November? Only people who have the time to read it and who enjoy jarring their own memories.
Rain on My Parade . . Please
It comes quickly, gray clouds bubbling up on the horizon, a sudden wind, and then an eerie hush that stills the birds, those that haven’t headed south. I step outside to feel the first large splats of rain and then back into the shelter of the open garage to watch the force build.
Straight down at first, the drops become silvery streams, slanting now in sheets that strike and power-wash the driveway then turn tame and curl in rivers down the street, taking flaky autumn leaves and any last hints of summer.
I stand in the doorway, thrilled, breathing in the delicious scent of nature’s shower, shivering a little, but not from the cold.
I’m reliving one of the strongest memories from my childhood in the 30’s, the dry years, when rain was so desperately needed in the Midwest. Farmers watched the sky day by day, shaking their heads when rogue clouds built and frayed away, one wisp at a time, leaving us still with the plague of red dust that wasn’t even ours.
But then came a day when the sky grew angry and rumbled with promise. We felt the tension, and so did the animals, when streaks of lightening came. The family gathered on the lawn, unbelieving, then rejoicing at the first raindrops, laughing and running in circles, soaked to the skin as it began to pour. I had never seen my parents so happy.
The feeling of those moments registered with me as deliverance, the opening of a window of hope. Rain meant relief from the heat. It meant prosperity for the crops. It meant a cleansing of the lawns, the roads, the atmosphere . . and the soul.
From then on, mental images of certain rainy days were captured and stored in my mind as “special.”
Picture: On a rainy day I could play outside in my oldest clothes, squeezing mud between my toes, running into new ponds in the driveway, deep lakes in the hollows of the lawn, laughing, rain slicking my hair and streaming down the length of me. Click.
Picture: My fiancée, home from the war, arriving unexpectedly to take me to work. He comes to the door with an umbrella and a large bouquet of lilacs, covered with droplets and smelling like heaven. We dash through the rain, holding hands. Click.
Picture: My son, at five, in yellow slicker and hat, turns to wave goodbye as he trudges off to kindergarten, sloshing through September puddles, grinning with pride in his new experience. Click.
Every picture that I “saved” is there in my permanent hard drive, and on rainy days I bring them up and look at them. It’s a nice feeling.
Other pictures that didn’t turn out so good, like the time I ran out of gas on the freeway in the middle of a storm, or the time the sky poured on my yard sale, those were not keepers and eventually I deleted them.
I remember a cartoon character saying a rainy day is a good time to put on some music, drink tea, and look out the window.
It is also a good time to clean out a closet, read a good book, simmer a stew . . or maybe just to do nothing!
It’s raining. You must stay in . . unless you must go to work in the rain, and that can be promising too. I think of all the movies in which the star met someone interesting in a downpour on the way to work . . or danced down the street with his umbrella.
Spring rain may be refreshing, but fall rain comes with subtle colors and a distinctive mood. I’d call the color golden (think wet leaves and harvest moon) I’d call the mood pensive. One is more likely to go “in” than “out” when rain is streaming down the glass.
Soft and sentimental as it may be, autumn rain must be the instrument, together with the wind, that strips October’s trees of their last dangling leaves, baring limbs to arch against the background of November’s pink and gray sunsets.
Soon no more rain. . but maybe lots of snow.
We’ll hunker down until it rains again.
I love the rain.
– Doris Markland