Wednesday, April 13, 2011

thoughts on rain

you'll notice, and you may think it odd, that the first picture featured in my post "thoughts on rain" does not illustrate any sort of precipitation. this is intentional, because i want to start out talking about my desert home. as you can see, blue sky is nothing new to me. where i grew up, in sunny southern utah, the skies were blue (the blue in this picture isn't even a whisper of the real live color), and clear, without much interruption from rain. in fact, i remember several summers in a row when uproarious thunder and lighting storms without rain caused wildfires in every direction, leaving a smoky film in the air while firefighters from all over the place camped out at a local high school while they were fighting the fires. rain is a bit of an anomaly. but occasionally, rain comes with a vengeance, causing widespread flooding:

like in 2005 and 2010, for example. right before the flood in january 2005, southern utah had experienced a severe drought, and the parched desert was literally dying for a drink of water. we all prayed and fasted for rain, and rain we got. homes washed away in rivers that, just days before, were barely trickles. we called it the "100 year flood." funny thing is, in december 2010, floodwaters rose to levels higher than those of the 2005 flood. thankfully, not many homes were destroyed (probably because all the ones in the dangerous floodplain already washed away in 2005). to put the above picture in perspective, the water flowing under the bridge is normally 7 or so feet lower, and in fact, not much more than a little stream. it's amazing what a few days of rain can do.

on my mission in uruguay, i experienced rain as i'd never experienced it before. i truly understood what torrential rain means. in this particular instance, it was barely sprinkling when my companion and i left the house, so we didn't think it was necessary to put on our rain jackets, because it was hardly raining; however, not five minutes after we left our apartment, in started raining freaking lions and wolves (a grown-up version of cats and dogs)--i don't think i have ever been so very, very wet. we had to dash back to our apartment to get our rain jackets, but by the time we got there, it didn't really do much good. the damage was already done. falling, sopping, dripping, drenching, drowning.

and then there was london. rain in england can be torrential, but most often it is a foggy mist, weighing down the air so heavy it feels like you are walking through a wall of water. humid rain was not something that i was familiar with before uruguay and england. when it rains in uruguay, everyone shuts themselves up in their homes and make tortas fritas; in england, people put up umbrellas or brave the rain without protection and life goes on as usual. i must say, there is something romantic and dreamy about seeing london in the rain--the traffic seems hushed in the mist, the thames soaks up the moisture as it has done for hundreds of years, and i feel like i am seeing the same london captivated by will shakespeare's plays, or brought to life in virginia woolf's street hauntings, or through the eyes of anyone who has succeeded at capturing the city into a word, a phrase, a photograph.

wherever i go, rain is different. but i'm a little bit different too.

*if you'd like to, visit the we are women project blog to see my guest post today. *


Curt and Ronda said...

I love the picture you put here of the flood this year. The rain here never ceases to amaze me, but I will just have to take your word for the rain in London and Uruguay until I become a world traveler like you! Although I drove through a rainstorm in Indiana once that was a doozy!

Gaviota said...

"raining freaking lions and wolves (a grown-up version of cats and dogs)"...JA JA JA JA...Muy divertido tu comentario!