The Suitcase Lady


July 12, 2016, 9:27 pm

I heard a lovely radio essay on rain last week. The woman storyteller related how her mother always would encourage her to go out and play in the rain. She and her brother would splash, dance, jump in puddles, run around and get thoroughly drenched and dripping. As an adult, the narrator said she has to resist the happy impulse to run outside whenever it starts to rain….and sometimes, she still does.

Her story got me conjuring up my own reflections on rain. Coming from a northern climate, I know that rain has multiple personalities. Nothing is gloomier than weeks of gray skies, temperatures hovering in the mid 30’s, wind and rain. Getting caught in these rains is truly a bone chilling experience.

On the other hand, warm, gentle summer rains are most welcome. The corn seems to grow taller before your eyes, and everything gets two shades greener. Rainbows are a distinct possibility so it’s best to put your back to the returning sun and scan the skies.

Summer thunderstorms are high drama. Often occurring at the end of heat waves, big thunderheads build up until the rain pours down in sheets causing roads to steam and pop-up lakes to appear in fields.

But my favorite rain does not happen at home. I have spent many hours of my life in the deserts of the Southwest and I love desert rain.

New Mexico might have the best rainstorms in the whole world. The sun shines almost every day and the sky is huge. When the summer monsoons arrive, it is possible to stand in full sunshine while watching a dramatic thunderstorm off in the distance. A desert downpour is usually quickly over. Then the arroyos gush with orange water from the desert soil, the sun returns and everything glistens. Since deserts are the great evaporators, the water will soon journey back to the sky.

But the most magnificent part of a desert rain is the smell. The rain releases the smell of juniper, piñon and myriad other desert plants. It is olfactory heaven and better than the finest perfume ever invented.

With a bit of reflection, I am certain that most people have rain stories to tell…..what would yours be?


Source: Flickr user Jared Tarbell

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