The other day I was walking to class and felt sweat bead up on the small of my back--not even short-shorts and a tank top were beating that springtime New Orleans heat. So when my Mom* told me later on the phone that it had been raining for 21 days straight at home, I was hit with a wave of nostalgic longing for that springtime Portland rain.
Later that evening, when I was wading across a street in calf-deep water and shrieking every time the lightening hit, I reflected briefly on the fact that I wasn't nostalgically longing for anything but dry clothes and ground not covered in 6 inches of water. Certainly not rain.
I always thought I came from a place that understood water. And that's true, to a point. As Oregonians we are experts on what I've come to know as the drizzle--constant rain but nothing too dramatic; things tend to stay on the lighter side. We proudly flaunt our ability to walk out in the mist sans umbrellas! And I love that rain. There's something infinitely comforting about the sound of the rain outside while you're inside. It's cozy. I used to think I was only happy when it rained.
The rain here is a traumatic experience, to be honest. There's a saying that goes something like, when it rains, it pours. Actually that's exactly how it goes, and I'll tell you who came up with it. Somebody who lived in the South. Probably New Orleans. In the spring or summer. Because there is nothing like a good old fashioned spring "shower" here, or really at any time. The sky opens up and dumps--it's like the raindrops are determined to hit the ground at Mach 10. They're angry drops, really vengeful, bitter raindrops. There will be no floating gently to the ground, landing lightly on the plants and the people. There's only the intent of dousing. And douse it does.
And it's never just the rain, it's the lightening and the thunder. The lightening, once you're under the red (which is what people here say when the storm is overhead. It's because on TV weather maps the heart of the storm is always red), whites out everything. It literally flashes so bright that it lights up the room if you're inside, and if you're outside, makes you temporarily blind. The thunder that comes after cracks at first and then rumbles out in deafening and religious fervor inducing noise. It will make you pray to God if you're out in it.
And then to top it all off, as if the rain, and thunder, and lightening weren't enough, everything here floods. The water table is so high to begin with that within five minutes of a good downpour the quads are flooded, streets are flooded, cars are floating away. I couldn't make this up. So that's where I was the other night, wading through a flooded street praying there wouldn't be leeches and focusing intently on not wishing for heat. With my luck I'd start a drought.
At the top of this page is a video I took looking out my front door. Please notice the frequent flashes of light, the state of the quad, and my overworked gutter. Sometimes you have to see it to believe it.
*a delightful woman I hope everyone gets the chance to meet.