Carmela contemplates life and weather after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, blessing us with beautiful rain. She is fascinated with water off all kinds - faucets, bowls, buckets, the kind of water that falls from the sky...

We're praying for those along the Texas Gulf Coast, for whom this storm has been more of a curse than a blessing.  

After the Rain

It's always interesting to see what pops up after the rain. Having been in a drought for so long, one forgets what it's like. This year has been of extremes – our drought was resolved by record floods in May and floods again at Hallowe'en. That kind of rain is different. What one sees after that kind of rain is debris on fences and inside of friends' flooded homes. 

This weekend, however, we saw rain. Though the ground is still saturated from Hallowe'en, the rain wasn't enough to cause the kind of damage that we saw then. It was just a light rain lasting most of the day Friday and again Saturday afternoon. The kind of rain in November that calls for laying in bed reading with cats sleeping in attendance.

And, after the November rain the back yard is an autumnal celebration. (We won't think about fire ants whose hills pop up like the armies of Mongols, seemingly invincible and making homeowners wish they had never been born. November is not the season for fire ants.) White mushrooms have popped up overnight and the grass is green, despite the cool temperature. The ground is spongy on the grass and muddy where there is none. Everything smells... I'll say natural for lack of a better word. Clean would not describe it, but it is certainly fresh. Cool. Crisp. Alive. The cats are stalking and pouncing on the bugs who still crawl through the grass and plants. Our back yard is hardly the manicured lawn of St. Augustine grass of idealistic magazine pictures. We have all manner of greenery growing on the ground and we are happy as long as it's green and doesn't have stickers. And because it has been wet for a few weeks we haven't been able to mow, so the grass (and plants) are taller than usual, allowing the cats to crouch down with their ears flattened while they stalk their prey, and to bound through it as they cross the yard. It's more exercise than these fluffy cats have had in quite a while.

The things I see remind me of the scientifically magnified images that one sees of germs and viruses.

But, really it's just the busy work of our bug friends.

Empieza a llover

Long, long ago
In a land far, far away...

Qué romantico, ¿verdad?

Well, it was a long time ago. I was 21 years old, and now I'm older than 21. The land was, indeed, far away. According to Google maps it is 2,255.5 miles from Austin, TX to San Ramón, Alajuela, Costa Rica. They even give you driving directions if you're interested.

It's raining, I've just left work and now I'm sitting in corporate coffee shop waiting for Nameless to get finished with his haircut so we can go to dinner. I woke up this morning with a strange feeling of contentment. I'm not sure what I did to deserve that, but I'll take it. Now I feel like I'm just kind of drifting along on the edge of a dream, drinking a pumpkin spice latte and enjoying the cooler weather that this week has brought. And I'm enjoying the rain.

So... long, long ago in a land far, far away I was visiting my brother, whom I barely knew, and he was taking me around the beautiful countryside of Costa Rica where he lived. He had a whole circle of friends that we visited at different times. We visited waterfalls and parks and friends and we ate wonderful Costa Rican food and drank Costa Rican coffee, which is just a different beverage than anything I've had before or since.

A few things about that trip are worth mentioning. I was young. And stupid. Costa Rica is a rain forest, which means it rains a lot. Rainy season hadn't officially begun, so it rained slightly less than half the time as opposed to the constant rain for weeks on end that my brother told me about. I love rain, I always have. I had discovered international music (Spanish) and Juan Luis Guerra was all the rage with his Bachata Rosa album. My brother didn't have a car, so we walked and rode buses a lot. I was 22 years old and very naïve with regards to sex and love, and I was gay and somewhat lonely in general. And I had a 32-inch waist.

I met a man named Gustavo. (What the heck; I'll use his name. How many Gustavo’s are there in Costa Rica?) I barely spoke Spanish at the time (which, from what I gathered from my brother, might have actually helped the situation) and we were sitting on a patio of a club in San Jose having drinks and eats. I was doing my best to talk to Gustavo, but I had learned my Spanish from Mexicans and the Costa Rican accent is very different. We talked about music and stuff and nonsense. I do remember mentioning that I had always wanted to be kissed in the rain. I don't know that he took me entirely seriously. I was young, I was naïve and a little silly. But, I was giddy and happy, and free.

Gustavo had dark hair and dark eyes and beautiful full lips and I left him in San Jose when I returned with my brother to the mountain town of San Ramón. But, he came to visit me, he rode a bus and we walked to the station to pick him up. We all hung around the house and played card games, listened to music, ate and lounged, talking during the afternoon rain. (You could set your watch by the afternoon showers.) Later, it cleared up and Gustavo and I sneaked out for some pretext that I don't remember. As we walked through the streets of San Ramón amidst the smell of the food and earth, it began to rain again. I could tell that he was a little wary of making a spectacle, but he put his arms around me in the light rain and he looked me in the eyes, and gently he put his lips on mine, and he kissed me in the rain.

Rainy Morning

March 10, 2012

With it raining outside this morning I sat on my porch and drank my first cup of coffee. I thought of many things, not the least of which is how much I love rain. I should have been born in a rainforest. My family has ended up in Central and South-Central Texas and it's not exactly a desert, but we've been in a drought the last few years. Xeriscape is the prevalent landscaping scheme. The music of rain falling is something that is unfamiliar to us during the summer lately. But, it's almost spring and the rain makes the grass very green, what little grass there is here. It was cool and quiet and my cats were out there with me, but staying under the cover with me rather than exploring. The air had a crisp quality, very refreshing.

It makes me think of a Psalm that I love, Psalm 63.
O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.

I'm a little sad at how much I can relate to those words. My poor earth is so dry. When we first moved from Amarillo I remember thinking that this must be Eden, or something along those lines. Compared with the stark, flat landscape of the Panhandle of Texas I suppose it does still seem like a paradise. But, I wait for this drought to pass and for us not to suffer the reality of the lack of water.

It's still a little chilly for me (it's 46 degrees outside right now) so I came back inside and had my second cup in front of the computer. I have a desk lamp and one of my cats is sleeping under it. The cats must love me, because even if they're upset with me they generally want to be in whatever room I'm in. They're so much in the habit of sleeping on my desk that I put a placemat on it under the lamp. They have totally ruined those placemats with their hair anyway, so I'm using them for their benefit now. (It's not nice to find hair on your fork when sitting at the table, and that's pretty much how it goes with these placemats now. I've decided that it's not worth the time to try to get the hair out.)

I perused facebook and gmail and other social-related sites. It was still raining outside so I decided that I should have some appropriate music. This led me to create a playlist for rain. I call it Songs for Rain. Here's what I came up with. I played with the order a little bit and I think this works best with what I have so far.

Title Artist
Me Van a Matar Julieta Venegas
Rainy Days and Mondays The Carpenters
Set Fire To The Rain Adele
Lluvia De Primavera Raúl Di Blasio
Ravel: Jeux d'eau Lympany
Bachata Rosa Juan Luis Guerra
Blackbird Sarah McLachlan
Maldita Primavera Yuri
Burbujas De Amor Juan Luis Guerra
Send Me On Me Way Rusted Root -
Cavatina Raúl Di Blasio

This is music that I already have, and have imported into iTunes. I have many more cd's that I need to load. I'm not going to work on that project at this time. I'll just take notes if I decide that another song deserves to be in this playlist and then rip that cd onto my computer. I always have a small notebook for notes with me, so it won't matter where I come across the idea. (I just love Moleskine notebooks. I got mine at Barnes & Noble. I have one side opening and one that flips from the top so you can move the page up as you're writing on the bottom of the page.)

Let me know what you think. Give me ideas that I could add.