Monday, 8 October 2007

The Rain

I sit here, at HOME, in my very favorite spot to watch the rain. The front windows of the house have always been where I could sit for hours, just watching the rain. But this time it's a little different, this time a hundred different locations come to mind as I watch the rain...

I remember India, where for almost a month it didn't rain, instead we had steady heat around 35 degrees celcius. And then in Calcutta when it did finally rain, it poured. In torrents that made us happy to have found a more modern store where we could wander around inside. And when we decided to brave the downpour, the puddles weren't something that we happily splashed through, but rather something to gingerly avoid for fear of what might be hidden by the layer of water. I can only imagine what monsoon season might be like there.

I remember Bourke, Australia, in the grip of a drought that refuses to let go. Wells going dry, rivers so low the water is salty, land so dry and barren that farmers struggle just to keep a tenth of their former stock alive. It rained a total of 3 times during the three months we were there. And you never complained about those rains, because the rain brings life. Rain is cause for celebration, the longer and heavier the rain, the more hope you have in the future. There was no drainage in the streets... no gutters or sewers for the rain to go, so the rain gathered in grand puddles everywhere. But who needs drainage in a land of drought? The dirt was so dry, it took hours to absorb the smallest amount of rain, as though the dirt had forgotten what to do with water. After the third heavy rain, we started to see little signs of hope, as the grass and weeds struggled to fill in the barren spaces. Two years of overabundant rains will be needed to break this drought that covers all of Australia. Gives me a new appreciation for rain.

I remember Sydney Australia, the second time through. We were there for a week right between two different cyclones passing by. Torrential rains that rarely let up all week. I don't know if I've ever spent so much time out in the rain, or gotten so wet without actually being in a tub or pool of some sort. Those were definitely days where we had to force ourselves to leave the hostel and accomplish something. If only the rain had been far enough inland to be collected as drinking water, but it all goes straight back into the ocean.

I remember New Zealand, where it rained almost more often than it was dry... or at least it felt that way some days. A land starkly contrasted to Australia. Australia was red/brown as far as the eye could see (except Tasmania and portions of the parks around Darwin area), and NZ was as green as the emerald isle. It didn't take long for the appreciation of rain to turn into a discouragement at the sight of rain. It didn't rain every day, but it managed to rain on those days when we really wanted the sun. It rained the day we went caving, the downpour funnelled into the cave, making the waterfalls we abseiled down even heavier than normal, and filling the underground rivers turning it into even more of a challenge. It rained the day we did the Tongariro Crossing, but then you've read all about that one. It rained the day we went four-wheeling, which made great mud and puddles for splashing through... man were we ever a mess after that, but it made it sooo much fun! There were many other days when it rained off and on, just part of the landscape in NZ.

I remember Lubeck, Germany, where the gentle rains made the cobbled roads glisten and deepened the red of the brick buildings.
I remember Ireland... the rain, the rain, the rain... apparently it doesn't normally rain as much as it did while we were there. We did luck out with a few gorgeous days, and the rain does make for such a beautiful green land!

But now I'm home. And I don't have to go out in the rain. I can sit at my window and watch the patterns of raindrops as they run down the window, see the ditches fill slowly. I can watch the dance of the raindrops as they hit the plentiful puddles. And there's no need to get wet while watching it all. At the same time I can picture the joy rain brings when there's a drought, I can be thankful it's not a flood, I can picture rain in the sheep covered hills, and I can picture the rain on the cobbled streets. Or I can go get myself a cup of warm apple cider and just enjoy being home.

1 comment:

o miriam o said...

a perfect post for thanksgiving. i really enjoyed reading that.