It’s 5:15 pm and the sky just cracked and let itself loose. Downtown, the day’s just ended for the workforce and I imagine the consternation: “Should we try to make it for the car, or stay and see if it lets up?” “Where’s my umbrella?”
I’m sitting, snug and dry on my deep front porch, Jameson chilling (just one cube) in a heavy crystal glass, a thick curtain of water sheeting down all around me. The sky complains mightily at some unknown offense, and the old, old maples and oaks throughout the neighborhood bend and brush the undersides of the lowering clouds. Suddenly, the wind dies. The rain drops straight and hard as a tropical deluge.
In the last five minutes the temperature has fallen ten degrees. The cars passing in the street arc tsunamis of fresh water across the tree lawns along the way.
Five minutes more and the drama has settled into the humdrum routine of a summer storm. The sky still complains, but at a distance, like a chastised child massaging its wounded ego after a well-deserved reprimand.
The rain has all but stopped, now, and the neighborhood droops like a Charles Burchfield* painting, the trees, eaves, even the parked cars dripping in a syncopated liquid patter.
A gnat has fallen into my whiskey, but I continue to sip it anyway, the alcohol having provided its antiseptic benefit. One should not waste good Irish.
Tonight is supposed to be the height of the Perseid meteor showers. Not a chance for a view with this cloud cover. I’m a little disappointed, but it’s been a sweet summer shower and there’s always next year.
A few ghosts of mist, rising from the cool rain silvering the hot earth, float across my lawn.
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- * This Charles Burchfield painting is in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art