While we are hardly off the grid, the place I live is by many folks’ standards quite remote. One hundred years ago, the local mill employed 500 people all living in these woods. Today the mill is a memory marked by the old road that winds through the western edge of our land and a gorgeous waterfall at the spillway half a mile away. Living here means an intimacy with the natural world, and particularly the weather, unlike anything I’ve experienced elsewhere. Rain means flooding, snow means no fuel deliveries, and wind means snapped phone and power lines. There is no cable out here, and the internet is provided by a fickle satellite connection that turns its nose up at clouds, rain, snow, and sometimes for no apparent reason at all.
I write with pens on paper, leaving a mess of papers and pads and spiral notebooks in my wake. Cleaning up last week (yes, post-NaNoWriMo clean up in December) I came upon this snippet I wrote back in July or August. Delightfully out of context, I offer it now – a summer reverie for your pre-Christmas consumption. Please feel free to comment!
It is raining this Sunday morning: a soft soaking summer rain. It downpoured last night and again early this morning. Gluttonous overkill showoff rain with no real staying power. This follow-up feeds the soul.
Living in the Catskill forest invites an awareness of danger. Season by season I find myself mentally prepping for all possibilities: in the summer I watch the sky for that greenish-yellow cast that means everybody heads for the basement. I smell the air for smoke. I scrutinize the raccoons for signs of drunkenness and I know where the guns are and I know how to shoot.
But drought is different. Drought builds slowly, feeding anxiety, engendering thoughts of wells running dry, of want, and of fearful thirst. Rain promises, threatens, and then disappoints, reminding me of my ex-lover and the words I spoke after our first tryst: “It is raining in the desert.” The rain breaks my heart and then feeds my soul.
I find myself able to crave the rain, to lust after it and need it. It is food and nurturance and refilling the well and I am Not Right without it.