A Few of My Favorite Things

Today’s rain is the cold kind. Today’s wind is the blow-open-your-coat-and-drive-straight-up-your-sleeve type. All day, people made weather-related wisecracks. I never heard such groups for blaming their own grouchiness on a little hydration.

I love rain. I like the soft, wispy drizzly kind you find in Scotland and the Pacific Northwest. It hangs in the air and forms drops on the top of your hair. Sometimes it feels heavy to breathe, but I love it because it’s the perfect weather for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. I can remember several very special days when I was able to take a long walk in weather like that and come home to something warm and filling.

I like the wild storms and the sideways sleet and hail balls. When I was 6 or 7, a period marked by the fact that I wouldn’t wear pants, my father used to convince me to sit on our blue porch swing during summer thunderstorms. Our pond water reflected the lightning and we could see white streaks above the hill across the road. I remember the goosebumps and my mom arriving to sit on the other side of me and keep me warm while we rocked and we all felt very in awe of the world around us. Moments of fearsome earth always remind me how impressive early humans were.

That was the setting for one of the interesting moments of my life. It was many years later, a few summers ago, when my dad and I were sitting on the swing during a brewing storm.

Anatomy of a raindrop

“How do you think you would have interpreted thunder if you lived a thousand years ago,” he asked, drawing air through the mild, woody cigars my mother and I love with a small pwah sound.
“Well, I would have had to associate it with something I knew through personal experience, right? And thunder sounds like a giant stomach grumbling. So I would have thought the gods were hungry,” I said. “I’d make a big feast to give them.”
My father paused for a pwah. Then two.
“I would have interpreted it as a sign of aggression and started a war on someone.”
Another silence.
“Yours was a very feminine reading,” he said, as the first raindrops began to splatter.

I think rainy weather has always been the source of my affection for cities like London and Seattle. I’ve been drawn to them for as long as I can remember and it’s not for the colonialism or fish. Part of it is the calming affect of rain. I like that it quiets the city — not like snow, which stifles. Rain makes the noises of a thousand neighbors softer, but adds a slight rhythm of its own. I like the fresh smell and the way it washes the sidewalks clean. I like knowing plants are being sated.

But mostly, I like coming inside while it’s raining. It appeals to all my homiest instincts — an opportunity to burn a candle, read a book and enjoy the quiet company of friends with some kind of simple, tasty meal. (Likely a carbohydrate.)

I am comforted by the idea that wherever you are, even if it’s not raining, because you’re reading this, you’re inside, warm and safe.


  • Briggsie

    April 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    What an interesting father you have. I bet he’s cute as a button and nice as pie. Also a barrel of laughs.

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