Rendered Fat Content


Helen Hyde: In the Rain (1898)

"I might just as well be hibernating."

All the week before, I worked like a man possessed, for word on the street predicted their arrival. There would be the time before and then the time after, and I had work to complete before the time before ended. I admit that mine was a bogus alarm, for nothing would be won or lost whether or not I successfully prepared. I sometimes construct phony deadlines to goose myself into action. I suppose everyone does. Still, my concern seems real. I drive myself. I exceed my capacities and work through my lunch, exhausting myself as if I was making a difference—an as if that seems to work regardless of whether that difference matters. I cleared the yard of leaves before TheRains arrived, satisfying myself and maybe saving some additional effort. A soggy leaf pile, the approximate volume of a Volkswagen bus, hugs the curb out front. It seems like the largest on the block, a point of considerable pride for me and my underlying bogosity.

In my youth, I often constructed deadlines for myself.
I'd stab a stick into arbitrary ground and perform as if failing might do me in. I'd sworn to write at least a song each month, an oath that kept me up most of the last night of each month, tempting fate and encouraging my muse. I usually succeeded, but even when I didn't, nothing catastrophic ever happened. I continued the practice, honing my compulsion through passionate iteration. I never learned how to write a song in a month. I just scared myself into doing so.

TheRains seem different, though, because they represent a definite physical change. The Villa stands in a semi-arid valley where it rarely rains. TheRains return in a seemingly unnatural fashion. For moisture to simply fall from the sky seems unlikely here. And while I understand our water supply depends on the sky turning dark and drizzly, I rarely welcome the change. Further, I've learned it's not permissible to complain about TheRains. We need every drop we get. Still, the darkness and the inconvenience wear on me a bit.

A wire running across the street in front of my office window serves as my rain gauge. If water drips hang on the wire, and sparkle in technicolor through predawn hours, it's raining. It often falls so finely that I cannot see it falling. When I stand out in it, it feels like I'm standing in a cloud; its presence seems so unintrusive and soft. We rarely see actual showers, and downpours are rare occurrences. TheRains are more a lifestyle change, from fair and sunny to grey and gloomy, from a horizon to not quite able to see to the end of the block, from wide open scheming to curtains drawn considering. I might just as well be hibernating.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver