15 07 2007

I like rain, and rainy days. I’m not sure why–back when I was going through a horrible bout of depression I used to think that gray, rainy weather made me feel good because it matched my “internal weather”–but whatever the reason, rainy days always seem to energize me. I wonder, sometimes, if some beautiful childhood moment is associated with rain, locked away in my subconscious. This concept forms the heart of my current book project, tentatively titled Beautiful Rain. In it, I explore the magic of childhood fantasy, how and why it is lost, and whether or not a middle-aged person can recapture it.

That said, you can certainly have too much of a good thing, as the picture of the rain-swollen creek not far from my house attests. By this time of year that thing is usually bone dry. It rained nearly every day here for two weeks in June, and it has rained five or six days so far in July. And it wasn’t just an on-again-off-again drizzle, either. It poured, sometimes for twenty and thirty minutes at a stretch. Trying to keep up with the lawn work has turned into a nightmare as the grass never completely dries before the next cloudburst comes along. I don’t care much for mowing wet grass, so when I do get a break long enough for the lawn to dry up, the crap is high enough to harvest and bale.

But for all of that, I still get a mysterious little thrill when I am sitting here in the wee small hours of the morning and I hear a rumble of distant thunder, and I lean back in my chair and wonder again what happy, wonderful thing happened in my distant past having to do with rain. Maybe I kissed a pretty girl under a tree in some back yard, or found some bright, mysterious object to add to my “junk” collection. I don’t know. I may never know. When I really reach back into my mind, all I get is an image of myself with some faceless, nameless friend, walking around the neighborhood in our small town after a summer thunderstorm. In this vague memory (if it is a memory, and not some romantic fabrication) the storm has just passed, and the sky to the north and east is awesome with huge black storm clouds and lightning. To the west, the sky is clearing, but for some reason I always picture that it is sunset, and my friend and I are cavorting around in the strangest, most beautiful glow of “magic light” that I have ever seen. Everything is wet green and bright burnt umber. There is a sense of urgency about the memory, as if I knew that my mother would be calling me inside soon, and I didn’t want this special moment to end…more intriguing, that at the age of five or six, I understood that the moment was in fact special.

I suppose that is as much as I will ever know about it, and I will never be certain if it is a real memory, or just some creative wishful thinking born of my adult mind. Something is there, though. It’s like a wonderful dream that you forget immediately upon waking…leaving nothing but an ache in your heart and a yearning for some beautiful thing that you cannot quite remember. I get that feeling, when it rains.




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