Friday, April 07, 2006

Rain, Rain Don't Go Away

It's raining here today. I love the rain--I have always loved rain. I used to go outside in my wellies and stomp in puddles when I was little. I lived in Davis and I still love rain, after two long winters of wet, day after day after day. It was the kind of constant rain that eventually drives the ants inside. They found their way into my apartment, went up one wall, across the ceiling and down to my cat Grover's food dish in a neat dotted line. The kind of rain that gets you partially wet, no matter what you do to try to keep yourself dry. Today's that kind of wet, but I don't mind it. It smells like spring. It smells green outside.

It rained in New Zealand, a downpour out of nowhere when we were walking around downtown Dunedin. We waited in doorways, waiting for it to abate, but it didn't abate. There had been a band playing in the center of town and they packed up all their instruments, calling it a day when the rain came. We tried to make a run for it back to the car but we were all soaked. It also rained the day before we took the boat tour of Milford Sound. We holed up in wonderful little cottage outside of Te Anau, watching the sheep owned by the proprietor and grudgingly making our way into town for pizza. The rain turned out to be a bit of luck for us because it meant all the waterfalls were flowing the next day, little trickles and big, thundering falls --water everywhere, too many falling streams to count. He is a picture of us on that boat. Note the wet weather gear.

It rained when we were in Dublin, too, the day we went to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells, and toured some cathedral that I don't remember the name of offhand. It was a slow, steady pattering. I had a raincoat on but my pants, at the point where the raincoat stopped, were drenched. Eventually we found a little restaurant for lunch and I steamed dry in front of the fireplace, with a big bowl of tomato soup. There was a tiny and somewhat creepy bathroom under the restaurant, where I tried to dry myself off with paper towels, to little effect.

For the three days I was in Paris at the age of eighteen, it rained every day. I was there on a short tour before going to live with a French family for a month, armed only with an enormous suitcase and three years of high school French. We saw the Eiffel Tower in the rain. We saw the Arc de Triomphe in the rain. We saw Versailles in the rain. We saw the Louvre and the Musee D'Orsay in the rain. We took a bateau mouche down the Seine in the rain. And it was July, in Paris. But I loved it. It was gorgeous and moody and it fit the city for me. I hadn't packed many warm clothes and certainly no raincoat. I had a poncho my brother had brought me back from Mexico after spring break, and so I smelled like a wet mexican poncho all through Paris. We had a french tour guide, whose name escapes me but was something very French, like Yves or Pierre, but not either of those. Everywhere it went he said "I 'ate zee rain! I 'ate it." And I would tease him about it, tell him how I loved it and how beautiful it was.

I love rain. I love it when you can smell it coming on an August afternoon, see a storm rolling in off the mountains and falling, raining itself out in the foothills before it gets to you. I love how it feels on your face, smells in the air, how it changes the potential of a day. How a day moves to a good book and grilled cheese and tomato soup just like that. How suddenly you want to bake cookies and watch movies in your pajamas. How sometimes I just need to take a walk it to make myself smile. This morning, on my way to work, I charged my car through puddles on the road to see how far the spray would fly. It was the closest I could get to jumping through puddles in my wellies today.

I wish you all a very rainy day.

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