What is it about rain?

Rain’s a factor in most of Oregon, and that notion gets doubled down out where we live. We’re perched on a ridge looking down the barrel of the Willamette Valley, where the weather systems curl in from the Pacific and roar up the valley straight at us. You either learn to accept the rain, maybe even love it, or you move. There isn’t much middle ground. I wrote this poem thinking about my attitudes about rain and where they might have come from…

What Is It About Rain?

What is it about rain?
Tears from heaven?
I don’t think so.
Go ahead—rain on my parade.
A reason not to live some place?
Please, let it be so
Let it keep the throngs away.

A soft patter most times
It renders the land here
A dozen shades of green
Even in winter.
Out near the horizon it
Sloughs down below the
Clouds like blue smoke
And if we’re lucky leaves
The soft arc of a rainbow
In its wake.

Sometimes though, it comes in
On storm gusts from the south
Like a battering ram.

Right now it’s dripping off
The Douglas Firs and
Running off the roads and
Coursing through the culverts.
What doesn’t reach the Willamette
Seeps through clayish earth
And strata of rock
To replenish the aquifer that
Feeds our wells and makes
Our existence here
Possible.

I grew up in a drier place
And when it rained
My Father would
Stand on the porch
To watch and to breathe in
The smell that blooms up
When rain first wets the earth.
My father standing there—
Wavy black hair, narrow hips
And broad shoulders—My Father,
Who came from an even drier place
In his youth and taught me
To love the rain
as he had.

 

Warren C. Easley
November 2007
Revised Jan. 4, 2012

 

 

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