Here is Your Rain - for Heather

My memories of Michigan are overcast and gloomy, punctuated by violent thunderstorms and mitigated by the mysterious wisdom of fog. Our neighborhood was situated between two lakes and a pharmaceutical factory; maybe the dismal ennui between foggy days makes them seem more frequent than they were.

I learned a completely different appreciation for rain in the desert. That song isn't joking - there's a week-long monsoon that every local celebrates. One of my favorite photographs which exists only in my mind is a view into the neighbors' screened-glass door: they held their four-month-old twins up to the window, showing them the rain pouring out of Heaven, faces aglow (well, the parents; the twins were just sort of staring.) I worked the overnight shift at the hotel in those days. I rode my bike 2.5 miles, gleefully, in the downpour every morning. Sometimes I was flat-out laughing by the time I got home.  There was never any thunder, though. I missed the thunder and lightning.

When people talk about their climate and say, "but we have four seasons," I don't care.  I can do without them. My mom used to call me in Lo-Cal and ask about the weather.

"It's sunny and warm and the palm trees are swaying in the breeze, just like they were yesterday and they will be tomorrow," I told her, every time. My parents gave me a surprise inspection once, having driven across the united states in an RV to visit Mom's children. I passed the inspection, and when she got home she called to tell me I was happy, and I should stay there.  Moms know, and kids never listen.

In Deep East Texas, the disparity between burning sun and downpouring rain was more crucial. It's farm country - the weather matters greatly, and if the rain is too harsh it is just as dangerous as a drought. Our landlord was a water-diviner; he'd kill a rattler and hang it on a fence-post to summon the rain. I can't say I remember it working.

"Kill a spider and it will rain," was the saw in Michigan. I prefer to put them outside, but just now I accidentally ran one over with my vacuum. Her little legs were squirming from her squashed body. I'm sorry, baby. I will end this for you quickly. It's already raining, anyway.

It's still raining, softly, outside.


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