Four days of rain in California is something of note. The roof of our little home beats like a drum under a waterfall. At night our dreams filter through purling treble notes that ring from the metal throats of gutters stretched under the eaves. The soil drinks to reeling limit and vomits all excess onto walks and streets and courtyards. In brief gaps between the showers, doves dive famished from the boughs to hunt for worms fighting up through liquid earth.
In Seattle, where I lived for twelve years, forty days of rain at a stretch was not unheard of. I managed somehow to bear it, to claim to enjoy it. When the dark and wet had found its way too far into my brain I would visit the heated cactus room at the Volunteer Park Conservatory, or sit for an hour under the lights in the butterfly garden at the Pacific Science Center.
Here summer consumes nine months of the year. Sol reigns invictus from April to October but scatters himself a week at a time through the rest of the calendar too. His banishment behind the clouds is always a piece of play-acting, all the better to astonish us into awed submission at his next revelation. The weather prophets predict his return tomorrow. Already the magnolia out my window is lit like a candelabrum with pink tongues of flame.