Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"all that the rain promises"

i'm not a good sleeper. i often spend a large portion of my nighttime awake. lately it's usually a cat or a kid inside, or a screeching raccoon fight outside, that wakes me up. once awake, there are then a million things that can keep me awake: hooting owls, random thoughts, the rain and wind.

last night, trying to get to sleep at about 1 am, all i could hear was the sound of the pouring rain. it had been pouring steadily for hours. once i focused solely on that sound, i was suddenly overcome with an extreme feeling of peace and contentment. i'm so happy we don't live in the middle of an apartment building; it is the unique patter of heavy, solid rain on the roof above and broad green leaves - like the large rhododendron outside my bedroom window - that is the sound i remember from my childhood. rain is never far from a northwesterner, from anything we write or talk about; and suddenly a phrase popped into my head, clearly connected in some way to something literary: "all that the rain promises". what was it from? it's not from the usual rain-soaked PNW literary oeuvre ("The Good Rain", by Egan; "It Rains All The Time" by Laskin; etc etc). finally i remembered: it's nothing more nor less than the title of a mushroom identification book by everyone's favorite wacky mycologist, david arora.

still, i love that phrase. it seems somehow so meditative and evocative and hopeful. it kept running through my head last night (this morning), resonating something deep inside. all that the rain promises. all that the rain promises. what does the rain promise (apart from mushrooms)? why do i love it so much?

to me, it promises green, growing, living things; it promises the need for a hot cup of coffee and fires in fireplaces; it promises books to read and a repetitive sound to lull me to sleep; it promises flowers and trees and yes, mushrooms, streams and fish; it promises a slowing down, a rest, a family pulled together for the fall, winter and spring.

what does the rain promise to you?


  1. a wet bike ride home.

    ah, i jest.
    i may moan a lot about what the rain and return of winter means (such as putting away the flip flops and bbq and hammock, etc), but there has to be a reason I live in a place so wet and green and consistently seek out places like it around the world. for all my griping, i must like this moss-covered climate and all it brings with it.
    Rain promises me single malt drinking, basketball and soccer watching, reading novels and hot baths, lots of baked squash and pots of irish stew, and, i suppose: skiing (or at least the multitude of trips to the mountains that occur when you're married to a skier).

  2. Years ago you gave me a copy of Sometimes a Great Notion. I lived in Virginia at the time. The opening of that book so well described the scene, the terrain, the mood of the land; dictated by rain, that I was in exile from.