We’ve had a lot of rain here in V-A. I’m not sure what normal is but it seems above normal for what is my second full May living in this state. I moved here Memorial Day weekend in 2009 from Texas. Droughty, water restricted, San Antonio, Texas. For me, rain is still a curiosity, pleasantly so. It seems so wet, so gray, so light green and moss lush, and such a blessing. Rain is relief, a big sigh.
The other day I realized I wasn’t driving much in the rain, like I wouldn’t drive in the rain in Texas or in Southern California. That’s not because I don’t feel comfortable with my rain driving skills—I learned from experience the thing to fear are other drivers—other Texas drivers. Texas drivers don’t slow down in bad weather. They speed up, as if to get out of the weather ASAP. One such Texas driver decided not to stop at a Stop sign and drove right into my car as I was sitting in traffic! My car and I were scarred that day.
Virginia drivers have been very mannerly and sensible. I have no reason to fear them or the wonderful rain. At least not yet. One does need good windshield wipers here. And lights. Always, put your lights on in the rain. I do kind of fear Virginia backroads which can be unpaved, narrow, troughs of mud. Once up a mountain road, the fog and low-hanging clouds can swallow cars and homes whole. The historical and folklorical ghosts of Old Dominion float about the Blueridge. It’s all so hauntingly beautiful, especially in the rain.
I drive slowly in the rain, savoring the sound of rain on the windshield, savoring the view, paying careful attention to the road on my way home. The road winds along a high ridge and has no shoulders, no room for a careless course. Virginia Roads, can be beautiful, but deadly. There is no room for arrogance or stupidity in driving, most especially in the rain. Hold on tight I say to myself and grip the steering wheel as I climb or coast a switchback. It’s not until I pull on to my own street my grip relaxes.
Back home, the neighbor girl frolicks in the rain when she gets off the bus after school. She walks to the end of the driveway and sticks a toe into the running water, her shoes, kicked off on the front lawn. She sings to no one in particular. It’s not until the rain begins to pound the pavement that she runs for cover of their carport. Then buckets become the focus of her attention as she catches rain flowing off the roof and holds her hands out to catch more. She’s a wet mess when her sister calls her in.
I watch from where I sit on my front porch, in my rocker, at the edge of the rain. I’m fascinated by which direction it blows, how it falls off our roof, where it puddles in the yard, and where it flows out to the street. I make plans as I watch it come down. I make plans for adjustments in my imaginary flower beds. Plans for perennials instead of the weeds that grow before my eyes, and plans for walkways that meander, and maybe a secret or two hidden away and left to grow. Then I pray a prayer of grateful relief for where I find myself at this moment.
Rain, blessed rain.
Today has been very wet with as much as two inches of raining falling per hour. My wheel barrow, empty yesterday, has a full 6 inches of rain pooled. My current prayer is one of thank you Lord, and a prayer to pass some of our rain predicted for the rest of the week to others who need rain. Texas friends in particular need rain. Farmers and ranchers need rain for their livelihood. My heart is still pinging a twinge for the place we spent so many years.
It’s funny how once a route or road becomes familiar the twists and turns are anticipated, leaned into. Speed is easier, more tempting. There’s comfort in knowing where the potholes are, what stretches are patrolled, where yellow lights are long. But a new road puts us on our better behavior. We drive alert. Carefully. Respectfully. Perhaps that’s why the Lord takes us there?
Please read more posts on the word ROAD at the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival at http://peterpollock.com