Wednesday, February 18, 2009


My friend Kim wanted me to post this here. I said, "But it's not about writing." She said, "It's an example for people like me who need inspiration to write about something special immediately after it happens." So here you are.

It’s been raining off and on for days—tres unusual for Southern California, even in winter. I love it. Everyone here lives for sunny days, and I do love sunny days, but I love rainy days more, perhaps because something is happening. I’m from back east where there’s lots of weather.

Still, because of the rain and cold, I haven’t been walking much. But this morning I decided I had to get out, so I put on my old tennis shoes in case they get wet —not the sparkling new ones I just bought—and my usual walking clothes. Because of the rain, I wear my purple windbreaker with hood and a hat. And fingerless gloves. I’m as prepared as I need to be—maybe even overdressed.

When I start out, it’s misting. I tuck the Netflix DVD I’m taking to the post office in my coat, under my arm, snug against my body. The sky is bright but it begins to rain harder. I pull up my hood. No one’s on the street except for an older woman and a little white dog. She holds a black and white striped umbrella over the dog so he doesn’t get wet doing his business. He sees me and barks. Few cars pass; even cars are staying in.

I head across the parking lot behind Coco’s. I love the sound of the rain. It sounds like hot oil sizzling in a cast iron pan. I close my eyes and walk, listening. At the post office a man says, “It’s wet.” “Sure is,” I say, “but I like it.” He doesn’t say anything, just watches the street and me going back out into it.

I’m wet now, and getting wetter. I decide I’d better go home. My shoes have water in them and it’s beginning to hail. I put out my hand and watch tiny mounds of ice pop onto my gloves and melt there. I laugh aloud, a little dizzy with happiness at being caught unexpectedly in a winter storm. I am so glad to be in it.

At crosswalks the water gushes by, ankle deep. I submerge my feet. My shoes are already wet so what’s it matter? The storm reminds me of El Nino when Travis was a small boy and from our window I’d watch rivers of water rush down the street, and Travis, on the porch bundled up, splashing in the rain.

By the time I return home, the rain has returned to mist. I step inside and de-clothe right in the doorway. I hang my coat on the doorknob and leave my sopping wet pants and socks and shoes on the floor by the rug. My legs are red from the cold but I don’t care.

It’s been lovely, and I feel lucky, wondering if the rain came so hard and heavy that little bit of time while I was out, just for me.

1 comment:

Ellen Bell said...

Good morning Barbara. Kim was right. Life provides the most beautiful inspiration if we only take the time to wake up to it...and then write it down.