Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Observing Rain

..he was one of those men who like to be observers at the own lives, any ambition to participate in them being considered inappropriate.

It will have been noted that such people observe their destiny much as most people tend to observe a rainy day.

Thus ends chapter 4 of Silk by Alessandro Baricco. All I can say of the book is that true to its name it glides smooth as silk and weighs nothing at all. You finish reading it too quickly and wonder if there were messages in it that you missed. One of the lines that I revisited was about observing one's destiny like one might a rainy day - I wanted to understand that parallel more and how it applied to my life.

I have observed a rainy day in many different ways. In the carefree years of childhood, it meant being able to walk through puddles on the way back from school, drenched to the bone. As a young girl in love for the first time, rain could make me dreamy and bring on an urge for poetry.

The clouds, a mighty army, march
With drumlike thundering
And stretch upon the rainbow's arch
The lightning's flashing string;
The cruel arrows of the rain
Smite them who love, apart
From whom they love, with stinging pain,
And pierce them to the heart.

-from The Seasons by Kalidasa

Rain never cast its magic spell on the loves of my adult life. Then I became mother and a blinding downpour when I'm driving to my child's daycare to pick her up fills me with irrational fear.

Of indissoluble grudge and aspiration:
Original milk, replenisher of grief,
Descending destroyer, arrowed source of passion,
Silver and black, executioner, source of life.

-from Jersey Rain by Robert Pinsky

As much as my relationship with rain has changed, I have never been a detached observer. Like Herve Joncour in the story, I have observed rather than participated in the shaping of my destiny and suffered the consequences of inaction - it did not help I was never dispassionate about my observations.


Submit your site said...

Rains are one of the most exhilarating of all seasons. It brings back fond memories from my childhood. A little old and busy to enjoy it as much today.

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After the July 26 2005 deluge, it is more of a torment than pleasure. I lost a dear friend that day. Hate the rains now.

SFGary said...

I think age has something to do with it. A cyclone in India was the perfect excuse to not go to school and it provided the perfect respite from the hot weather. Driving in the flooded streets was always an adventure and there was something regenerating about a heavy thunderstorm.

I have not seen any such rains here in the West and mostly its just a few inches here and there. Its also quite aggravating getting around especially out on the freeways....or maybe I'm just getting older.