Rainless Days

I was told that it would be rainy. I would even say that I’d been warned. One could then say I’d failed to heed the warning. “You’re from the desert,” my hypotheticl interlocutor said. “You’re used to the sun.”

“I have blue eyes and I’m very pale, perhaps even translucent. The sun is my enemy,” I said. “And I love it when it rains.”

“You won’t love it,” said he. “You will long for a glimpse of a blue sky, shivering and crawling like a goblin, and it will be denied you. The rain will be your tears. The rain will be eternal.”

“Well, we’ll see,” I said.

And so we have. It hasn’t rained in weeks. Well, it rained once last week, for about a half hour. The grass around my condo has all turned brown. When I was out for my morning walk yesterday, I looked at the brown, dead grass around me and I thought I was back in Tucson. It was a flashback, although of course I wasn’t in Tucson, because it was midmorning and I was outside and my skin wasn’t on fire.

I’ve been told this has been the driest year in Seattle history. People are looking for someone to blame.

I think it might be my fault.

“Pacific Northwest Dries Up,” the headlines will read. “Local man who moved from Tucson quote ‘brought it with him.'”

My bad, guys. Maybe it’ll rain again someday. But maybe not.

Riding In The Rain

This post is about riding motorcycles.

You can feel the raindrops breaking against you despite the leather jacket. Each one stings but doesn’t hurt. It feels good. Your hands are wet despite the gloves, which you wonder about until you remember that you’re wearing the gloves with perforations in them because it’s summer.  You know, to keep your hands cool. The soaked leather of your gloves feels good too.

Your focus is on the road in front of you. The oily puddles of rainwater and various coolant, oil, and other sundry liquids make you alert but not nervous. There’s a sense of daring as you ride around some and through others. Any one of them could be too much and then you’ll be on the side of the road, hopefully alive and unhurt, but no guarantees.

Even though you’ve ridden faster before, this is where you feel the edge most keenly. It’s a good feeling. The thrill of pushing right up to that precipice is a good one.

The crack of thunder is louder than your engine. You know it’s not safe to do this, it’s not recommended, but the idea of not doing it seems even worse.

It feels as though this moment was made for you. All of the choices of your life have led up to this time, this place, this road, this storm. You’re riding on the edge of the storm like a surfer riding the crest of a wave.

The sound and the rain and the engine and the road are your entire world at this moment. There is nothing else to think about. Nothing else matters right now. Later, it will, but not right now.

You don’t do this because you believe a lie about invulnerability. You don’t do this because of some fascination with death. No, this is all about life; this is about holding your life in your hands and savoring it and experiencing it with the full realization that it is a fleeting and precious thing. It slips by even faster than the road beneath you, even faster than the rain around you.

You ride the edge of the storm because you are alive and glad of it and when the lightning arcs across the sky in front of you, so brightly that it’s like a newborn sun even through your darkened visor, you don’t feel fear. You feel good. You feel alive and quick and full of promise.

You realize that this moment, this summer storm out on a desert road is a rare moment and you realize that there are too few moments like these and that they are rare and special things.

This one is yours; yours, and no one else’s.