Today has been full of frustrating things. The exterior of our house won’t do, we have to find something else to pass the fire inspection. The data analysis I was working on blew up several days ago and while I figured out why, I could not fix it. When I tried, my computer crashed. Now it is raining
Rain is so hard for me. When it starts to rain hard I am filled with affect, with feelings. My associations with rain make it perfectly reasonable that I should have an emotional reaction to it.
When I was young we lived in North Florida where my dad, fresh from WWII, was using his GI Bill to go to the Florida State University. It was unusual for Tallahassee to be hit by hurricanes but not unheard of. Back then no one evacuated except to go to a friend’s house on higher ground. We just did not have the resources to deal with major disasters. Consequently it never occurred to us to evacuate. My mom had lived in South Florida before WWII and they dealt with major, devastating hurricanes. Tallahassee had what hurricanes we could “Ride out.” When the weather forecast came we all had our jobs. Mine was to clean the bathtubs and fill them to the brim with water. I also got an old beat up Miro pot from the kitchen and put it on the side of the bathtub. Thus prepared you had water to drink and water could be dipped out with the pot and put into the other pot so it would flush. When the wind came the storm could be mild or fierce. One storm put a tree limb through the screen in my window over my bed. We always kept some of the windows open so there would not be a negative air pressure build up causing the windows to implode.
When the eye of the hurricane came we would all troop out of the house and stand in the driveway and inspect the damage knowing we could not try to fix it with the time constraints but we could assay it. The thing I most remember is the eery yellow light.
Rain makes me feel eery. When we were young adults living in the house that I built for us the rains came and the basement flooded taking the hot water heater with it. It is hard for me not to expect flooding when hard rain comes.
Now I have to add to my rain list the feeling of no rain; the feeling of the weather as it grew dryer and dryer moving us toward that fateful day when the Charlottee/Mink Creek Fire ripped through out community taking 66 homes and 30 barns.
Soon after the fire the monsoons came and water, not the lack of it, determined my life. I spent time going out to our land checking on it, redirecting run off and generally feeling miserable because of the misery of our land. Later water froze into the ground so we could not build until the spring.
It is spring. We are not building and it is raining. And my data analysis is not done nor are my computers working.
The rain pulls me in two directions. The first is getting the ground dry so we can build our house. The second is getting the ground wet so it won’t burn down like the last one did.
I know in my mind that the probability of my new house burning down is infinitesimal now since everything that could burn did. My stomach does not have eyes and has not see the ground. So, as the rains come, it can only listen and feel. As it listens to the rain, it feels that it is good. Water is good. It helps things grow. It helps the ecology of the region and most of all it is a symbol of life. We need those symbols amidst the ash of the fire.