Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It smells like rain...

When I was a kid, my friend Hilary and I convinced her mother to let us go camping in the woods behind her house one night. By “camping” I mean sleeping in the woods in a sleeping bag on the ground. We must have been pretty young, because we only needed one sleeping bag, and we were not worried when it started to rain; we just propped an umbrella over our heads and went to sleep. After a few hours Hilary’s sister was sent out to find us and bring us back in the house. My memory of that night isn’t the uncomfortable ground or being brought home early; instead I remember the novelty of sleeping out in nature. The sound of the raindrops in the trees. The smell of the wet earth. The dark that encircled us warmly, protectively.

Rain has always been special to me, especially now because I live in the desert and always yearn for a good thunderstorm to give life to the dry city. But it was special to me even before I moved to Las Vegas.

Rainy days during my childhood meant it was time to snuggle inside and work on a sewing or drawing project at the kitchen table or help mom make a pie or batch of cookies. Or I would stand at the back screen door and watch it come down in a comforting stream until the spring on the hill behind our house overflowed and caused a temporary creek across our yard. Once the rain slowed, I put on my boots and grabbed my umbrella and floated boats in our driveway puddles.

In college, rainy days gave a welcome break to the daily monotonous grind of classes and homework. A day with an umbrella roof, spent ducking from one building to the next, forced students closer together and was therefore cozy and more fun.

I think George has “inherited” some of my rain-love. Even if it’s coming down hard, he will paw at the car window until I roll it down for him. Then he sticks his head out the window and shakes from head to toe every minute or so. The other drivers must think I’m nuts, but I just drive on, humming a tune to the beat of the wipers, with a wet dog hanging out the window.

Rain in Las Vegas is always welcome, but it’s different than Midwestern rain. The desert sky is so stark and huge, and often you can see that other areas of the valley are getting rain while the sun shines on your area. (Rain envy!) Usually the sky teases you with a few drops on your windshield, then nothing. When it does actually rain – real rain that forces you indoors – I always run outside under our patio and just listen, and watch, and inhale. Nothing is more soothing than the steady fall of rain. Musty. Cleansing. Romantic.

I’m writing this from Indiana, and tomorrow’s forecast is a 60% chance of rain. Heaven.

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