Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Out in the Rain or Platypus Weather

There's something transfiguring about rain.  It changes all the colors, mutes the sounds, slows our pace, turns our reflections inward.  Rain shows us things we've missed before: they were there all the time, but the light wasn't right for seeing them.

I went for a walk with my wife this morning in the public gardens.  Since it was wet and drizzly, we saw almost no one.  Those few we did see didn't linger.  They passed us and were gone.  By ourselves, then, we wandered as we pleased; watched a crawfish, followed butterflies, searched for lizards, looked out over the lake from the safety of a Japanese Tea House.  With the grey sky, all the colors were deep and rich.  The greens were almost iridescent.

My grandfather was a gardener.  He worked with Gallic stubbornness in the rocky New England soil until he made it fruitful.  I remember when he visited us in California and stopped dumb-struck at the size of the neighbor's roses.  With all the fervor of a seasoned expert he accosted the man in his thick Massachusetts accent expecting to wring from him the Hermetic secret of the giant rose blossoms.  Our neighbor was dumbfounded in turn and told him that "they just grow like that."  It was a crushing blow and brings to my mind images of Wiley Coyote plunging to his doom off yet another cliff.  It doesn't rain much in California, but the soil is some of the most fertile in the world.  Rain is plentiful in Southern New England, but the glacial soil is so rocky that it's only with great effort that anything not native to that land will grow.

In New England, it rains, snows, sleets, and occasionally hails for a good portion of the year.  It's true as well that the soil is poor.  But there are colors that can only be seen when it rains, and flowers that you only notice when you care for them.   

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