Let It Rain, Let It Pour
I walk the dog down the cove to meet some friends for a picnic dinner facing the Black Mountains. Dog sitting for my parents on the east side of the river puts a little more distance between where I’m walking and the upslope of the mountains. I barely have to crane my neck to take in the entire view. End to end, top to bottom, the range is breathtaking, a landscape swelling with shades of green. Rich in life, I think, biowealth.
As I walk I notice that the dusk air is gentle and dry, atypical for July in this temperate rainforest. I move with a slight bounce in my step, having just finished a draft of a story, and decide that there is nothing like a walk on a gravel road to invoke the notion of freedom. My pace quickens at the thought.
We drink homebrew made with barley hops and watch the dogs bark and chase each other between rows of garden greens. One friend is just back from a sixty-four mile mountain bike race and balances like a gymnast along the porch railing, then drops her pants to reveal a triple-shade bruise the size of a volleyball. The injury spreads across her right thigh and buttock and looks utterly un-human. Two others are just back from a road trip in Canada, “Where we camped on cliff sides and let the wind blow in our faces.”
I consider telling them I have been traveling too, lost in the valleys of my mind for forty-eight ridiculous hours of creativity and hell and self-doubt and heart-pumping sentences and everything in-between. Instead I mutter something about Sophie the dog, and how she is so soft and wispy that she moves like moonlight, but somehow this doesn’t convey the last two days of writing. I am reminded of what my advisor said to me about the writing life in his last letter: “This is a solitary sport, no way around it. It’s made for the hermit in all of us.”
Solitary indeed, and I slip away from the picnic early, rich already from the faces of friends, their laughter, the constant wag of dog’s tails, the promises for future picnics, the fading light over the rim of the Blacks. Later, it rains, one thousand million fat, hot, drops slam-dunking into the chocolate soil. I call for the dog and he comes, sprinting as fast as lightning, spraying pellets of water in all directions, skidding now across the kitchen floor, wagging into my lap, licking the salt on my legs, nudging his sweet, black nose into the crook of my arm like an ole’ pal.
We curl up for the night, an added blanket to fend off the façade of thunderstorm chills, and where he will dream fields and hole digging I will dream books and metaphor weaving. Either way, the rain sings the same song to us both.