Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just Walking in the Rain

                                                                Just Walking in the Rain
            “Just walking in the rain. Getting soaking wet. . . People. . . stare at me. . . saying who can that fool be.” That fool be me.

            Gloriously, deliciously drenched. Three hurricanes this month held promise of rain and then either drifted out to sea or fizzled into nothing. Not a drop of rain in months. Then one morning, the skies burst. I waited for a pause in the downpour and headed out for a walk. A block from my casa, the sky unzipped right on top of me. I loved it. Instantly I was dripping, sopping, soaked with warm rain.

            I felt like a kid again, running through the sprinklers or playing on the lawn during a summer rain. When did we start grabbing raincoats and umbrellas and boots? Why?     

            A few steps to shelter, beneath an umbrella of a tree, thick with waxy leaves, waiting for another pause in the downpour. The sweet elderly, and I say elderly with trepidation, man who walks his dog and kisses my hand when he sees me, shared my shelter for a moment. We laughed at the wonder of our first real rain of the season. He kissed my cheeks, European style, and moved on. A young woman walking the center of the street, paused, gave the universal arms akimbo sign for “What can you do.” We laughed, sharing the moment.  

            The main street, Sabalo Cameron, roared curb high and over, like a creek in flood. Buses sent plumes of water shooshing over the sidewalk. I changed my intended direction, scooted around the corner to shelter at the fruteria. When patches of blue appeared and the rain settled into a gentle sprinkle, I picked up my laundry next door at the lavanderia. Back home, I peeled off wet clothes and hopped in the shower.  

            The entire month of June, albeit following a perfect sub-tropical winter, Mazatlan had sweltered under a tropical depression, with three in-line hurricane threats off shore, Hoovering up any breeze, leaving air soggy with moisture. One might drown by breathing. One need not lift a finger to be bathed in sweat. “Mucho calor”, the greeting of the day, while sopping one’s brow. Overhead, a flat blue sky.

Following that gift of rain, I checked the forecast daily, hoping for a repeat performance. Rain was often predicted. But weather follows its own whims. I wooed each puff of cloud like a desperate lover. The next three days dawned blue, clear and white hot. I hold tight to the promise of the monsoon season, July through September. But most of August and September I will be in Montana. Do you suppose it might rain?

Finally, this morning the western sky loomed purple as a fresh bruise, clouds heavy with promise. I scooted out the door to the lightest of sprinkles, like baby kisses. I never got wet. The drops dried on contact. But I enjoyed the promise. Monsoon rains are around the corner. People tell me after a rain, comes the steam bath. I don’t care. Bring on the rain.

When I got home I swabbed my floors and drenched the potted plants out my front door with the mop water, a leftover habit from too many drought years.

Though it goes against my Puritan upbringing, I’m going native. I understand why offices close for the sweltering afternoons and people disappear from the sidewalks. Activity, chores, projects get scheduled for the polar ends of the day.

Old habits are hard to break. At first I napped sneaky siestas, accidents of sleep, hiding from myself. Guilt finally slunk around the corner. During the afternoons, without conscious thought, I enjoy a half-hour nap time while my ancestors who formed me with their sensibilities roll in their graves.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

June 25, 2015

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