I woke up to a wet, gray world this morning. Today is my favorite kind of day; I always get a surge of excitement when I roll over in bed and catch a glimpse of the sky through the window only to see the whitish-grey light of an overcast day.
Sure enough, after I pulled on a sweater, I walked out onto our balcony and my hopes were met. The sky is not sky, but only clouds, and as they curve around to touch the horizon their edges fringe into mist. It smells cold and wet. All of the colors are deepened by the moisture; the bark of the bare, winter trees is darker, making each sprawling branch stand out clearer against the blank sky. I can see tiny beads of moisture on a tree that reaches right up next to our balcony, hanging on the edge of the branches like ornaments. Two trees across the street still cling to their normally dull-yellow leaves, but today they shine like gold.
I hold my hand out and feel the drizzle that must be lingering from a heavier rain that came in the night. I am reminded of England, and being in London with my family, a city where it seems to rain perpetually. My uncle picked us up from the airport in one of his cabs, and it was raining, and everything was gray. I remember the raindrops on the windshield, and that I sat in the middle. England seems gray in all of my memories, although I’m sure it wasn’t. With all the joy that rain brings me, I wonder if I’m meant to live in a place like England. I also wonder if I would learn to hate it if I did.
I look northeast, toward the mountains. They are completely blotted out by cloud, and I wonder what it would be like not knowing they were there. We live on the fourth floor, and I can look directly across the treetops. There are evergreens, and some kind of tree whose many tiny, reddish branches make it look almost furry. And then there are the black fingers of bare branches, reaching crookedly in all directions, that are so distinctive of winter. The view reminds me of something; France, I think. It rained on the day of my grandfather’s funeral, and I remember looking out from the hilltop cemetery across the Basque countryside, rippled by green hills and adorned by clumps of trees, misty-looking in the distance. And again, in Paris, in the Charles de Gaulle airport: while we waited for our flight home to begin boarding, I took some photos out the window of telephone towers in the distance. They were quite far away, lining the outer edge of the runways, and it was a gray day. They looked more like figures from a painting; not quite solid, but still clear and visible. And gray; everything, gray.
The rain makes me feel peaceful. Probably because when it is cold and rainy, one only feels like staying indoors and being safe and warm. I have always loved the rain. I love the way it changes everything, and seems to slow down time. You can’t be in a hurry when it’s raining. Stay inside, stay dry, and sit and enjoy the world for a while. Let the rain make you still, let your mind wander, and see what memories you unearth from the wet ground.