Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Rainy Day

Sometimes the rain is silver. It happens every so often when spring has grown old, but her quick leap from immaturity to adulthood went by unnoticed until one morning you wake up under your blankets, damp and disgusting from the sweat that has snuck up on you, and the next few seconds are a mighty battle to release your limbs from the mess of linen tangles. Upon freeing yourself, you immediately bind up your hair in an awkward knot to keep it off of your nearly feverish neck. Neglecting your slippers, you stumble into the kitchen, and the draft in the hallway and the cool linoleum that kisses the bottoms of your bare feet are suddenly blessings, ignored at best, despised at worst through the dragging winter months. Out of habit you fill the kettle and light the burner, and though you are aware of the irrationality of consuming anything hot, the taste and familiarity of the tea trumps the oppressiveness of the heat, and you pour your cup in defiance of all things rational.

Then the thunderstorms begin, and the day is dark and gray, and the patches of brown earth in the city landscape become verdant sponges, and you glance out at the sidewalks and see a man in a baseball cap, swaggering along with just a T-shirt and jeans to protect him from the deluge that is cascading from the sky.

The day wanes on as you sit and stare at your computer screen, knowing that you have something to accomplish but forgetting what exactly, and the thunder growls, and the draft in the hallway angrily slams shut the bedroom doors and throws the stack of newspapers and bills on the kitchen table into turmoil. You snap your laptop closed and, ignoring the mess of papers on the floor, you rush to the window, puddles of seemingly infinite depth now forming in the potholes of the street and in the uneven spots of the sidewalk where one slab of concrete has rippled higher than another at the permeating force of great tree roots. Tree branches sag with the out-pouring of the sky, their leaves now a striking shade of green, and as the water rapidly pools and collects on them, spilling off in drops even thicker than before and plummeting nobly to the ground, you feel the corners of your mouth rise, slightly, slowly, your eyes widen and grow brighter, and soon the thongs of your flip-flops are nestled between your toes, and you pull open the front door, clutching the metal knob in your hand as a gust of humid air, saturated with the scent of wet pavement, wet dirt, wet cars, wet everything, greets you and lures you out into the wetness. Now you are covered, refreshed in the heavenly bath, clothes heavy and sagging like the branches of the tree. You look up and see a break in the blanket of clouds above, and streams of filtered sunlight mingle with the water, and the orange of the sun and the gray of the atmosphere blend together in a visual harmony of hues, and the edges of the clouds are fringed with platinum, and the brick of the buildings is infused with gold, and the rain, as it rushes down from exalted places and coats the earth below, is silver.

May in the City

There is something so romantic about walking through the city on a warm, blustery day in May, with your shoulder bag lightly thumping against your leg and loose strands of your hair teasing your face, having unleashed their long pent-up energy. Due to the wind rushing through the screen in your bedroom this morning, throwing about your gauzy white curtains in mad and wild raptures, and due as well to the thick gray blanket of cloud that has rolled itself out between sun and earth, it is a day that you expected to carry with it a certain chill, and so you layered yourself in a light jacket before heading out, uncertain if that even would be enough. But now, as you walk up and down the busy avenues, you pause and step to the side, not wishing to invoke the important fury of the tourists and businessfolk and homeless people around you, and you gladly free youself of your jacket, peeling it off and slinging it over one arm. There is a humidity in the air, and the balmy breeze evokes a sense of excitement and mystery, and the gothic buildings, only just speckled throughout the city, are now accentuated and seem to have multiplied, and the presence of their dark facades seems to spill onto the streets a sense of foreboding – delightful foreboding – romantic foreboding, with those tourists and businessfolk and homeless people apparently oblivious, rushing about with their briefcases, plummeting through intersections at red lights as cars and buses hurtle towards them, or lolling about with heads tilted upwards, bumping into each other and stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to raise a fancy black telescopic lens to their eye. Oblivious they may be, but they are part of the scene, clopping along at an amazing rate in heels that cannot be classified as “high” but rather monumental, sitting on the corner and rattling a coffee cup with a thin layer of change at the bottom, chatting away animatedly on a cell phone in languages you should have been able to understand if you had retained anything from school, arguing with each other in languages you never knew existed, nursing $5.00 cups of coffee, swinging monstrous bags that read “Saks” and “Macy’s,” calling to their beaming children who stumble along with monstrous boxes that read “Build-A-Bear.” And you are part of the scene too, and you wonder if anyone observes your actions as you wander into the park with your romantic cup of tea and your romantic apple with the sticker still on it, and, either ignoring the mild spitting of the sky or welcoming it as another bit of romance, you select a table and chair and pull out your journal and begin to write.