FACING THE RAIN
By Day Parker
Another summer day in Florida. It is August, the hottest month of the year and the wettest month of the year. It's raining again. Every day or almost every day about four o'clock we get a couple inches of rain. It is constant but refreshing and cools the 90 degree temperatures. The rain is clear but visible. It does nothing more than fall from the sky. It hits the ground and soaks into it. When the earth has had enough, the rain forms little puddles around the yard, edges of the streets, cracks and crevices of sidewalks and in the ditch in front of the house. Sometimes it hits the ground and bounces before forming puddles and streams. I watch it flow down the driveway seeking lower ground. It drips in huge drops from the rooftop and tree branches. It seems to always be busy, falling, flowing and running.
The rain can be exasperating to us as its busyness interrupts our days. It makes driving more treacherous, walking impossible, and work costly. It stops outdoor fun and makes us rethink or reschedule our plans. Yet if it would wait until nighttime the same rain could make us snuggle down in our beds feeling safe, warm and dry and fall asleep to its steady rhythm.
The rain has no consideration for anything. Not for foliage, not for insects, not for animals and not for humans. It does not stop, slow down or sidestep for anyone or anything until it is ready. Like the wind, it dispenses on the good, the bad, and the ugly. It treats metal and shreds paper with the same indiscriminate force as it uses to nourish the foliage or fill lakes and streams.
No favoritism here.
The lizards and insects in the yard do not hide from it but use it to cleanse themselves every day. Birds disregard it as they seek the worms that come up from the ground. Other animals find shelter until it's over. I've watched the squirrels drink fresh water out of the kiddie pool after the rain stops. The house pets will not go out in it. What a bunch of wimps! They are not so sweet that the rain would dissolve them. Spoiled, I would say.
It keeps the swimming pools full. It keeps the lakes and rivers flowing. It provides fresh water for the animals to drink, and for the fish to live in. It provides nourishment for the foliage, and gardens that provide food for us human and animal inhabitants. The flowers are brighter and the leaves are dusted and shiny. When the rain is over it feels like everything has had a good cleansing shower, cool and invigorating.
One of the most fun things to do after one of these little showers is to walk next to someone, come upon a puddle and jump in it. It has caused trouble more than once (depending on the temperament of the walking partner). But the surprise and reaction is worth the trouble.
The rain is useful and beautiful and plays with ones senses .
I see it beating against my window. Sparkling as it falls, leaving drops on my window like tears for me to look through. The drops shimmer and roll downward ever following the pull of gravity.
I hear it. It is music to my ears going from pianissimo to forte, from drizzly mist to forceful pounding, from melancholy to disco tempo, from tinkling bells to sounding symbols.
If I go outside I can smell the freshness and cleanliness that the rain brings. It clears the sinuses and unclogs the brain. Leaving me feeling heady and giddy in its coolness.
When I open my mouth I can taste it. It falls on my tongue and is refreshing and pure. Its taste is crisp and light. It runs down my throat both inside and out and makes me feel renewed from the inside out.
It reminds me of another time and another rain.
Again I see him standing at the window watching the rain. He sees it, hears it. Raises the window, smells it, breathing deeply. He sticks out his arm to catch some of the raindrops then rubs it into his skin. Then he sticks his face out, lets the rain run down his face, pooling in his eyes, dripping off his chin and feels its coolness. He opens his mouth to taste it, sticking his tongue out to catch the drops. When he is done sensing the rain, he shakes the rain off his face, draws his head in and closes the window again, picking up a towel to dry off. Then he continues to watch the rain come down. He spends several minutes studying it, watching the pattern, and the coloring that is created as it falls against the window, sometimes running down the window in rivulets and ending in large drops. He is holding his camera and fiddling with the knobs that adjusts the focus and lighting needed for the best pictures for the situation. Satisfied that he has made the needed adjustments, he again watches the rain as it hits the window until he sees the picture he wants to capture.
Suddenly he raises his camera and takes several pictures of the window with the raindrops still striking the glass. After he has finished his shoot, he spends a few more minutes watching the rain then adjourns to his darkroom. In the photography room he develops the pictures to see what he has captured.
He takes his time developing his pictures as the process takes patience to achieve the best results. Then he brings out the picture to show me what he's been able to capture. I am amazed at the articulate scene before me. There must be a hundred raindrops on the window. Each drop is shaped and shaded a little differently. Some are like teardrops and some like little round mirrors. They shimmer and sparkle, each one different.
The picture shows the window with the raindrops and in the middle of each raindrop on the window is reflected a miniature portrait of his face. How exquisite!!
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I loved this story! I really appreciated that you chose to focus on rain because it’s such an ordinary and extraordinary concept. I also loved how you weaved photography into the story. This story felt like a love story between the two characters-not necessarily the romantic type of love. Thank you for writing g this story and I am excited to receive your feedback.
Hi Day, this story held my interest in part because of the summer visits to fort lauderdale as a kid. we would go out after a rain and watch the vapor rise from the road. splash through puddles in bare feet. the ending here was lovely. good essay!