Posts Tagged ‘rain’

A Question of When

19 March 2012


Dear J-

The steady rain all weekend has been our accompaniment today as well, informing all our actions and investing them with perilous consequence. I woke to the steady drumbeat on the roof and immediately resolved to drive to the vanpool, but changed my mind what seemed like a thousand times between the half dreaming state I couldn’t break from and actually walking out the door. I started off on the bike but turned back at the top of the hill before the rain had soaked me completely through, before it was too late. Start out early enough and you have that luxury; lie in bed any longer and you reap that harvest.

My schedule continues to be consistently erratic; last week I spent less time than ever under the pace set by the seventy hour guys and so of course I spent the whole weekend wracked with the sort of guilt that accompanies it, no longer sure that I’m doing much good at home or work. It’s a funny feeling to convince yourself that you owe work, the mobster that demands all the time and love you have and asks for more. Worse yet is the day to day nature of things, schedule shifting fluidly from days to nights and back again, leaving my family wondering if now would be a good time to talk, or eat, or call. Answer is probably not.

Eventually the storms pass and we return to our normally scheduled programming of sun and fun, of regular hours and no more secrets to keep, no surprises waiting to ambush the unprepared. Looking forward to days that will come but for now I don’t mind weathering the storm on the doorstep, snuff together with people I trust.



Rain Again

10 June 2011


Dear J-

If I was smart I’d be returning to the airport only now having spent a little more time at one of these other places around Birmingham — perhaps the Zoo. Or maybe the Botanical Gardens — and I’d be out there in the rain somewhere. That’s nothing to dread and certainly nothing to run from but I think I would have liked to be caught out in the sudden downpour out there. There’s something different in a summer shower even with its bellicose thunder and ostentatious lightning, different by far from cold California winter rains designed to soak and obscure. Here the rain washes over us in clean, fat sheets, drenching in typical Hollywood fashion that says we should be tasting irony in every drop: the joy of rain, the ecstasy of life.


Water Choice

17 February 2011

Dear J-

Going north we pass through the restored wetlands at Del Mar — you climb up a big hill once you’re past Carmel Valley and when you’re back down to sea level you’re at Del Mar before climbing back up to Solana Beach and points beyond. Usually after it rains in the mornings there’s a low fog bank hovering over the wetlands, clnging to the earth like a favorite blanket clutched tight at night. Earth, sea, and sky all merge into a unifed whole and remind us that the promise of spring, daffodils and irises, blustery March and thawing snowcaps is just around the corner. It is the last stretch of undeveloped land until you get up into the Marine base at Camp Pendleton.

Of course when it’s raining hard enough — or mistily enough, as yesterday — you get the disconcerting feeling that someone’s trying to drown us with the air become water and the betraying earth refusing to drain it away (some of the puddles and potholes that form after late winter rains around here, with the ground already saturated, are subject to their own tides, it seems). I remember that first winter spent going back from Boston to Davis where it seemed every time I touched down in Sacramento it kept pouring down, forming my first impressions as a city ruled by rain. Those who’ve moved here recently might say the same even with clouds and mist giving way to sun today.

We grew up away from water, J-, and I wonder if that hasn’t influenced where we ended up. In Davis during rice season they’d flood the Yolo Causeway. I would drive to work thinking I was somewhere amongst the Florida Keys, I-80 a narrow ribbon bisecting water as far as they eye could see. Crossing the campus at Berkeley I’d make it a point to linger on the bridges across Strawberry Creek. Boston and Cambridge are divided by the Charles, and everything I did, photographically, that first year had to do with water water everywhere. We make funny choices unconciously guided by fate or fortune, but isn’t it all always right?


Winter Back

2 January 2011

Dear J-

When we woke up this morning they said we were in for rain and it was easy to point incredulously at the sunny skies and scoff at the weather service. The clouds started gathering at noon and we had rain coming down by four, making this roughly the three hundredth consecutive weekend with rain. I don know what you’re used to but there’s nothing colder than winter rain: snow you can brush off but rain sits and seeps.

We did end up getting our trip to the beach today, and from there up to visit the seals too. Inside and away from the rain we were able to nap too; there are no doubt so many things we could be doing but the main chores of this weekend — packing away Christmas lights and decorations — we did under sun yesterday and capped it off with a trip for some Hawaiian barbecue (which is really just stuff they feed to gullible mainlanders but we eat it anyway). It’s enough to know it’s Sunday afternoon and the attendant pending doom of work in the morning without having to emphasize it with rain and chores.

So you can spend your Sunday dreading the great return to work or enjoy as much as you can as far as it goes, and if you let it unroll at its own pace the flavor lasts longer. There’s big things to worry about. This isn’t one of them

Rain Day

19 December 2010

Dear J-

I’ve been off work for over a month* and I start again tomorrow, full-bore ten hours a day until Saturday.  I’m not sure how I’ll survive without afternoon naps, frequent breaks for reading (fiction), and all-access snacks in the kitchen.  That’s an awful lot to demand from a job, after all, but compared to the work we do at home — up every few hours, late into the night, early in the mornings — it sounds like a snap, relatively speaking.

So this last day we got back from the museum and a heavy lunch (between the three of us, a meatball sub, an Italian torpedo loaded with all the different deli meats you can think of, and a plate of spaghetti) meant that everyone took a nap in front of the TV — I started off watching the pre-game show for Pats-Packers, but soon, with baby and then cat piled atop me,  I drifted off into the sort of pleasant bliss I’d only dreamed about for years — this was living, rainy afternoon putting a stop to any sort of productive activity outdoors, and warm, so warm surrounded by everyone.

I’m running out of creative excuses to duck out on the outages lately; this year it was a baby, last year it was the leadership academy, and the year before that my old boss was a bit of a soft touch when it came to granting vacations.  Sooner or later I’m going to have to take the whole twelve weeks or so at a gulp, but for now, this has been a perfect opportunity to recharge and recalibrate.


* Officially I’ve been working from home for the past three weeks but you and I both know that I haven’t touched a thing since Friday morning and am only now reluctantly packing up the laptop, thinking that I might log on and knowing that I won’t.  Let’s just say that having figgy at home makes for compelling no-work reasons.

Rain Falls

19 November 2010

Dear J-

Every time I brought back something big (growing up, that usually meant a LEGO set that was bigger than me) it seemed like it was raining.  So I’d be there juggling keys and package, artfully wrapped in whatever oversized bag they’d given me along with perhaps my coat — there’s nothing worse than a rain-damaged box to fussy children, and people dry faster than cardboard — half-sick with the worry that I might drop it and ding a corner.  Yeah, fun times.

It got to the point where it became part of the superstitial mythology that I wrote as I went along:  without the rain things weren’t worth the getting, and they’d turn in to shelf queens sooner or later, given the same short shrift as clothes from Grandma — worn on special occasions such as surprise visits and family photos.  I understand the deep frustrations that lie beneath the disappointing joys — something you thought was amazing turns out to be unusable and that burning taste you thought was spice turns out to be just crap (see also:  WordPress 2.6 for iOS) — but the subtle degradation of disenchantment is not easy to stomach either.

Every time I brought back something big it seemed like it was raining.  Guess what the weather’s like tomorrow for Calcifer?


Steel Tide

19 October 2010

Dear J-

I’ll tell you a secret: I love driving in the rain. I like the way the wet pavement slips by underneath with a sussurous whispering hiss, I like the rhythmic slap of wipers, I like the way the world slides into view every few seconds and gets buried under a thousand glittering beads in the next moment. Each car trails a comet of mist, the wheels churning up a thick roiling curtain of fog and making you figuratively clutch your coat about tighter.

Today I watched someone in a BMW M5 enter the freeway and promptly start to lose it. They opened up the throttle and started immediately getting sideways, snapping back into the skid and overcompensating, making me tap the brakes to keep away; it was the first I’d seen of the BMW twitch. It’s part of rain in Southern California and its bipolar population: either you pretend that it’s not there and drive as usual, or you act like you’ve never seen rain before and gawk like yokels at moisture from the sky.

The cozy feeling inside the car — just enough heat to take the edge off the storm and maybe a fire roaring at home to look forward to. Without any leaks you’re hurtling along in a little bubble of glass and steel, watching the weather but not enslaved to it. The ebb and flow of traffic resembles a steel tide on a concrete ocean; inside your rain-slicked car you’re forced to turn your attention towards the chatter in your head, picking up all stations today.


March Time

6 March 2010

Dear J-

The promised rain held off until the afternoon, and then wasn’t even as dramatic it was billed to be. Meanwhile, we cowered inside all morning, even when the sun was pounding down strong, hoping that the skies wouldn’t sweep in the threatening clouds on a moment’s instant. Sometimes the anticipation is worse than the moment; it just goes to show that living afraid isn’t living at all.

If we aren’t afraid of getting a little wet, then, we’d have a chance at real life; if were weren’t held hostage to figgy’s bladder (and really, what’s to be afraid of there?) we might never have to test ourselves. There are many roads to travel and we don’t have time to go down each one, but if we never go down any, nothing will change. Sly glances and teasing, shy words aren’t enough all the time.

We are sold on a lifestyle, that you can’t have X without Y, that there are prerequisites and entry requirements. It’s faintly ridiculous to expect that the weather will always be perfect to allow for outings, but maybe it was a convenient excuse to allow us to stay home when we didn’t need to; another quiet Saturday passes unnoticed; another opportunity passed over, another weekend further along.


Weather Watch

10 February 2010

Dear J-

Even though my bike has fenders on it, it is not weatherproof; the weak link (as it often is) is the rider. I could list a long litany of faults (I need to replace my second set of pedals, now that the chainguards have fallen off the chain has a disconcerting ability to jump the chainwheel under any kind of pressure, and I still haven’t figured out the best way to get the rear fender attached — it just sort of flops around), but the main issue lies with the rider, specifically the laziness (I made a deal in my head: any kind of rain today meant I was driving, never mind that it’s supposed to be nice after noon).

You can get the finest equipment but the operator is the usual limitation, whether it’s computers that spend most of their CPU cycles idle as you’re digesting wikipedia articles, pohnes that do everything but tuck you in bed at night, cars that can drdive at illegal speeds all day (seriously, you can buy 400 horsepower engines for full-size trucks, but why?), or cameras tasked with making something picturesque out of the usual junk I point it towards. The bike fenders are there to keep me from wearing the dust of the road; they’re remarkably effective in the wet, but I also hate being dripped on, so they’re doing their job and I just need something like waterproof clothes to augment; at least I don’t have to commute in a place where it really rains, but then I might have more junk to manage instead.

Of course if we only got the perfectly adequate, we’d all be driving sensible-shoes cars like a Honda Fit/Jazz and brands like Ferrari would never have gotten off the ground; somewhere along the line we’ve convinced ourselves that either we may need it later, or our wants are just as valid as our needs. Since starting the bicycle commute in 2007, I’ve been caught in at least one rain shower per year, which finally convinced me that even if I only need the fenders a few times a year, it’s well worth not having to wipe mud off everything after a wet ride; it doesn’t stop me from looking enviously at folks in warm cars or regret not paying better attention to the weather.


Find Time

6 February 2010

Dear J-

Say what you will about us being spoiled for good weather — it rained today and rather than try to dig up some kind of inside place where I’m sure every other parent would be, we stayed at home again for the first Saturday in months. Call it a rain day. We had our usual trials (the crazy trial of the day was inadvertent potty training, as she chose not to put a diaper back on for roughly half an hour) but somehow we’ve managed to get to the evening without killing each other, so it was a successful experiment, if not one that I’d care to repeat.

The next thing to worry about is splashing in puddles, of course; we spent a few minutes outside staring at the gutter carrying a rapid stream downhill and throwing various bits of leaves in, watching them shoot away. We stayed dry enough, I suppose; everything except for shoes, which were always in some state of dampness for me (I loved the concept of waterproofing, and tested them every chance I got; she has clearly inherited that bug from me). There are no merit badges for sailing ships in your imagination, but you can’t go wrong with it, after all.

Keep inside, and it’s hard enough to keep her interest up; at the same time that she’s grown more active, she’s grown more interested in the world all around. If we had warmer clothes that could keep her dry as well, we might still be outside staring at the gutter even now. There are so many things we can share and yet there isn’t always enough time to make them happen; time is flexible between the endless moments screaming and the winking blur of happiness.