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  • Down comes the rain, greening the spring.

    Down comes the rain in its mud splashes, like quiet manna. Like expected privilege. Like manna in small important amounts, like manna to the lake people. The pools are high, the forecast rainy, next weekend they are talking about 5 to 10 millimetres on Saturday and 15 to 25 millimetres on Sunday, and 10 to 15 millimetres on Monday. About one to two inches of rain, that is. Toronto will have the rain this week, on a not rainy week, of what Death Valley, California, gets in a rainy year.

    The mossy green head of the unplanted spaces soak up what they do not even ask for, in one short week, and it is the begged for amount the desert might get to make the hills golden and the wildflowers profuse in a grateful spring.

    We of the rain places do not know what we have. It is even an impediment on a Sunday and we planned that I-am-a-human-I-am-in-charge walk. Oh, all right, we say. I suppose I'll put on the rain boots and the rain jacket, the rain doesn't look too all heavy.

    Out we go, into the wet manna, like chump change falling from the cloud cover. Like silver and copper we slough off, small begging bone moolah. Mere petite cabbage. Trace amounts, hardly folding rain. But heading up to the greenback pourdown which will really push those orange tulips up. Maybe it will rain down some sweet C-notes which will pound the skylight and make pretty rain music to us in our writing rooms, surrounded by the sound, happily playing some music to go with the rain: maybe Townes Van Zandt singing, "Pancho and Lefty," or Roseanne Cash with her marvelous rendition of, "Girl from the North Country."

    We, of the rain people, use rain as an accessory, don't we? An accoutrement, an item, sure and our own private percussion on glass and tin.

    Rain the food, rain the cloth, rain the cash......rain the breath, the life. Rain as no rain is the death but we are protected from that death, we of the lakes and rain predictions. Our bodies fit the rain, our bodies which are mostly water, in the rain we are most at home, the rain resembles us, we resemble the rain. We know so little of the drought life.

    We know so little of the life where the body begins to resemble the drought and the dust, becoming dry, becoming sunstruck, becoming that red which even with a home looks homeless. We know little of the sapping, sucking, baking, cracking of the skin, where the skin becomes the earth and the things of air, disease, misfortune, where bad luck enters the cracks and makes the skin canyons of chasms, the largest organ in the body----the skin----becomes parched, calling, crying for moisture.

    And the moisture will not come.

    And the rain refuses.

    In the desert, there is a phenomenon called, "virga." Where the rain finally agrees to approach. Where the rain like a con man, agrees to your requesting. Where the rain comes on down. Where the rain comes on down, and just before the rain hits the howling land, the rain evaporates, and the rain does not fall. Where the rain is a bad bad teaser. Looks good, is bad, is real, is worse than a damn lying mirage. Your eyes did not lie to you, but, baby, the rain sure did.

    The lying rain foreclosed on your heart a long long, long time ago.

    The rain set you up, and the rain left you with a heart structure, and a crop structure, and a soil structure, and then the rain like a beating, like a pounding, like love like a punishment comes down with horrific force, and the rain does finally arrive and takes it all away. The soil leaves, the seedlings are drowned, the dry holds, the dry leaves, the sky tall as skyscrapers lowers and presses the hope away.

    And so I go in my blue raincoat, my ironic pink rain boots, we the rain ghosts of the lake country in our bicycling yellow slickers so photographic......

    .......we in our everyday windfalls, we in our everyday rain......

    .......then we think back to the desert, then we think back to the history of years with no rain the desert peoples endured, the plains people, the droughtland people endured, the years........

    So I put on that "legend" CD of the great Texan, singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, again. And there is Freddy Fender, the ghost of Freddy, singing with Townes. And Freddy singing a bit of, "Pancho and Lefty," in Spanish. And of course, I am listening to two ghosts, Freddy and Townes, two droughts with multiple doubts, the dry hope coming in on that far too optimistic raining, in sheets.

    (Photos by Susan: Death Valley California set inside the Amazon River, near Manaus Brazil.)
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