Thursday, October 06, 2005

melancholy grace

We had a very wet spring and summer. August was wetland heaven. I couldn’t go out on my bike for more than a few minutes all summer without getting rained on. Early forecasts for the autumn pallete were very promising due to all the rain.
Then September came. In my portion of town, nary a drop of wet stuff – all month. No exaggeration. Said so, on the news. An entire month of dry, beautiful weather, if a bit too hot.
Yet we entered October with less than an inch deficit. Go figure. Until last night, that is. It began to drizzle, surprisingly, just before sunset. By this morning, there was a slow, steady rain soaking everything. I woke to open windows letting in the sound of the mandolin rain in the trees, rising and falling as the intensity waxed and waned like a self-indulgent Italian playing for tips. I spent the morning working at the kitchen table watching the steady predictability out the window.
When I absolutely had to go out in it to get to work, I stepped off the front porch reluctantly, but when the first drop hit my face, everything changed. I walked so slowly across the front yard that I was soaked when I got to my truck. I dried a bit during the commute, but lumbered across the parking lot so that when I went to class, I was dripping.
It was the stereo sound of steady rain in 360 panoramic hifi. It was cool cleansing on the skin. It was deep, wet, greens against light grey sky. I hadn’t realized how dusty I’d become from a month of sunny ease – dragging through the gorgeous days, existing moment to moment, barely making deadlines, watching the bright sun cross the blue sky wondering why the days are so short.
This morning, time stood still. No sun blazing across the sky to hurry you to the end of business. No growing light of morning, no waning light of evening. A full day of 40 watt consistency.
I thought of how the weather affects our mood and emotion. But that’s because we have emotional consistency relatively equivalent to the weather. We are up and down according to circumstances, chemistry - both internal and external. The weather is about the same, and we tend to match our ups with the sunshine and our downs with the rain. But what happens when the weather is not moody? What happens when the weather is manic for a 35 days? Can you last that long without feeling sorry for yourself for some reason? If you don’t, after a few days of weather mismatched to your mood, you’re apt to become angry. How dare you blue sky and bright sun? How dare you cool breeze and swaying trees? How dare you cumulus clouds and crepuscular rays? How dare you mock me with your eternal happiness? Can’t you see I need sympathy? How about a few tears from an empathic atmosphere?
Today the sky answered. I have heard your cry and have harkened my ear. Be washed. A cathartic cleansing washed dry, self-sorry dust down the street and into the gutter. All day long we walked hand in hand – the grey sky and I.
Today, grey was my favorite color. Man, I feel so symbolic today. If I knew Picasso, I'd buy myself a grey guitar and play.
Wait a minute, I have a grey guitar.

‘tis cotton clouds in pastel sky
under which my sadness lies;
and breezes gentle, cool and sweet
to kiss my tear damp face
‘tis cool grey clouds in heavy sky
that truly hear my heaving sighs
and bring to light a smile to greet
a melancholy grace.