Sunday, November 7, 2010

You Are My Rain

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It’s so easy to lose the thread these days. And then when I find it, it’s not really him at all anymore; not the him I’ve come to know. I used to doubt so much, and yearn. I used to not know how to ask for things. I used to worry and miss him. I used to curl into him, filling every space, renewed.

Did we really love the rain as much as I remember, or was that some affectation of the recently-moved-to-Seattle? Because that’s what everyone warns about before you move to Seattle, isn’t it? So we told them all the rain’s no big deal, and then we kind of had to commit to that. No car in those days, so we’d wait at rain-swept bus stops and street corners. I used to imagine a wedding announcement featuring us in our soggy jeans at the corner of Pine and Boren, waiting for the light to change.

So many different snapshots of our early love are rain-drenched, even before Seattle was on the horizon. The night we met, I walked to that party from one end of my Philadelphia neighborhood to the other in an eerily foreshadowing misty warm January rain. And when I knew he was moving, I’d study the rainy days and try to imagine myself in his new city. It seemed so distant and unlikely, but the next thing I knew it was real. Damp grocery bags in our hands. Drizzle-speckled used CDs from Cellophane Square.

The music we fell in love to was rain itself. Hooverphonic. Air. Massive Attack. Stereolab. Love Spirals Downwards. All those dreamy, fuzzy layers; dozens of neutral shades blurring sensually into each other. All these years later and I still catch my breath when one of those songs comes on, and an ordinary drive to the store is suddenly transformed. I notice the skyline again, and remember what it felt like when this was the landscape of a romantic adventure; not the landscape of errands and commutes.

Yes, by now the novelty of all this rain has worn off a bit. Complaining about the rain in Seattle is about as useless as complaining about the heat in Texas. But that doesn’t stop us. Sometimes it’s downright worrisome, the way it pours down on our little old house. Sometimes we’ll have days and days – weeks, even – of relentless downpour, and I’ll think this just can’t be good for us. But there are moments when the rain unexpectedly locks me into the old optimism.

Like last week, when I had to run some paperwork into The Boy’s school. The last thing I wanted to do was leave my cozy little car-cocoon. But the minute I set foot on the sidewalk and felt those soft raindrops in the warm breeze, it was like stepping back in time. The colors – vibrant reds and yellows of the autumn leaves popping against their black branches and the milky grey sky. Suddenly, I wasn’t in as much of a hurry. I was feeling that same wet, fresh, ripped-open sensation of when I first arrived here and everything felt so new – rain-drenched, uncertain, discouraging at times, but unmistakably hopeful.

It isn’t just nostalgia that links my love to the rain. Rain is struggle. Rain is sacrificing convenience and comfort for the sake of just getting outside anyway and going where you need to go. Rain drives you crazy, making you adapt to its quirks. Rain is familiar. Rain drives you back inside. It gives you permission to go slowly and take care of yourself. (Have some tea.)

Rain is imperfection itself, in all its disappointment and unexpected beauty.

1 comment:

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