By Lisa Autz
Additional contributor: Zach Schepis
“Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” — John Updike
In our human lives, regardless of how civilized or shielded we may carry them out, the climate still persists; the rain still falls.
To coincide with Rain Week at BTR, a couple writers discuss the ways in which they connect with the precipitation.
Gray-tinted sunlight creeps through my bedroom window as my eyes begin to lighten from sleep. My limbs are usually the first to notify me that silver, liquid raindrops are waiting outside my door. My legs feel about five pounds heavier and affix themselves to any horizontal furniture.
My mind then sprawls out into a relaxed serenity as droplets orchestrate a lulling song. My fingers gravitate toward grained paper books and newspapers to hold. I feel a calming focus with a still body and a mind placed in rhythm to the Earth.
I usually begin to read incessantly and ultimately revisit a balance that was once lost.
He cradled the leaves in his outstretched hands. I remember those hands well. Callous and brazen from working the fields of Pompey, that endless stretch of countryside outside the city of Syracuse in upstate New York. His father–a Cherokee who up and left the reservation to rear his son–barked orders until those dancing fingers were a tandem of dirt and sweat and curled root.
They dwarfed the little saplings that they cradled, but in their touch I could read an understanding. It’s hard to put into words. His name was Jason, but everyone called him Chief. He never said much.
That day he did though. Standing together in my backyard, reaching up like a giant to pull the branches down for closer inspection. It’s a poplar, Chief told me with his palm against the trunk.
Deciduous, like a maple.
When it’s about to rain, these kinds of leaves will turn up. He smiled after he said it. A breeze wandered through the surrounding pines and, one by one, began to toss the leaves of the tree upside down. I watched the flurry of green change to faded silver. Sure enough, minutes later the first few drops fell.
In Brooklyn now, it’s a different kind of silver. The rusted steel of subway cars and moonlit glint of tracks have replaced the soft stems.
On certain days, though, a walk through the park will remind me. The leaves still turn if you know where to look.