Waiting for the rain

The sky is overcast up there far in the distance past the Interstate where you can’t touch the clouds, always out of reach, thick damp gray like cotton candy soaked in whitewash hovering above green hills on the horizon line like a bad omen open for divination, about to unload, discharge, pour down its truths elsewhere.

It’s closer to sunny here though, with large empty patches overhead, torn free from thinning mist-like cloud banks scattered all over by the wind. Those empty patches project intermittent circles of light down on the ground, over the tall buildings, wading erratically along jammed thoroughfares. Moving shadows are cast without rhyme or reason and go mostly unnoticed by the thronging crowds. Some of them brought along their umbrellas, just in case, when they left home for work.

There’s an overall melancholy in the air today, not really a sorrowful mood but instead a general slowness to everything, for action, attitude, buffering the self against volition or initiative: There should be lightning soon over there and with it the smell of ozone, the smell of wet, and the growing pervasive feeling one should have stayed home reading a book instead. But then, almost no one reads books anymore, so it’s a feeling devoid of purpose.

I remember one particular rainy afternoon at my grandmother’s house many years ago, going over the old books in the cabinet above her ancient armoire and coming up with, among several others, a copy of Through the Looking Glass that belonged either to my mother or to her siblings, complete with the ghostly Tenniel illustrations. I remember sitting down on the white plush couch with my back to the open window and the dark gray sky above, and devouring that book with a glass of chocolate milk, maybe cookies or freshly-baked cake as well.

I’m not the one to say that back then was necessarily better in any absolute sense, it did have its highs and lows just as everything else does except on rainy days candyglazing the past seems so much more tempting, easier to do and to come by, either by fantasy or force.