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Monday, March 29, 2010


It crawls over the horizon, sending promising filaments of white into the mountain pines at high altitude, then cedes to an hour of unforecast but familiar sun, which blasts cheerily into the valley. It makes happiness, of course, but buds and roots hunger for the gray edge in the west. Then the wind whips up and the temperature drops off, and the cloud pulls down over the peaks again, rushes down until the mountain is invisible, white only, and the air in the valley crackles with change. People lean into the wind. They walk faster, shop faster. The pace of business quickens as those in the store hurry to finish their missions of resupply, but few new customers come through the doors. Those who do dart through the aisles, hastily plucking three or four things to get them through the short term.

By the time it arrives, the rain finds an empty canvas in the parking lot. It spatters it with tiny uniform dots, testing, testing, then with medium ones, then large, now covers it completely, along with every surface under the sky, the whole valley subject to its brush, then its sponge, then its roller. For the first time in months rain falls in steady constancy, layer upon layer, filling every opening, crowding out air and loosing a smell of freshness, rebirth, ozone, energy, spring. Gravity pulls the rain to earth yet faster, as if water needs encouragement to sink, to penetrate, to fill every gap in concrete, dirt, or skin. The workers idle and watch it come, no longer workers but rainwatchers every one.

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