Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Water, light and air

So I am at the Retirement Home -- my folks' place in Ocean Park -- and I had a sudden eye-opener about the quality of light and the nature of rain.  It's been raining since I arrived yesterday morning, but the cloud cover is not dark -- there's quite a bright light outside, illuminating the wet green. ( The birds are just as vocal and active, too, so they don't mind a little dampness!) 

The brightness of the cloud cover is different from the cloud cover I admire so frequently in town, though -- there is a translucent quality to it -- as though the light were right there, close behind the clouds, a ragged, wateriness to it as though the cover was going to shred apart at any moment (even though it does not!)  The light is purer up here on the comparatively uninhabited coastline -- far fewer cars, no factories, nothing like as many people. No constant layer of smog between us and the source of light (or at least, less) Light is coming directly at us, inhibited only by the rainclouds.

Anyway, I was standing in the kitchen looking out the window as I waited for the kettle to boil, and feeling vaguely nostalgic about childhood rain, and my young sensations of looking out a window and not being certain it was raining, and the telltale signs I would look for.  Up at the edge of the gutter to see if tiny drops were falling from the split place, over at the wild rose hedge to see if the light thin leaves were stirring with the percussion of beats of water.

Both of these places -- my childhood home and this one -- are rural. I am surrounded by fields of grass, and forests.  There is no cement, only tarmac on the road, which is at the other end of the house.  Anyway, tarmac receives water in a way that cement paving does not -- sort of muffled and multi-directional -- so that steady drumming you hear, from acres of roof tops and yards of flat smooth cement, does not exist out here.

But now I live in Portland, right in the heart of the city, and all you need to do if you want to know if its raining, is listen.  You can hear every drop bouncing off some flat surface, a window, a rooftop, a sidewalk, the tops of cars and trucks. Everything is paved!   Everywhere the sound of falling drops is met with the sound of rushing water from gutters and downspouts.  It's a whole different thing!

Anyway.  Such are my maunderings on this lovely morning.  Good coffee, too.

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