Monday, April 24, 2006


It’s dark and grey and rainy and melancholy. I can feel my life passing by in small episodes of memory. What is it about rainy days that makes you think about the passage of time, about other rainy days? About where those people are now, what happened to those places? Why on earth was I doing that, why did I spend so much time in jobs I hated? Why was it so important to do what everyone expected of me all the time? Why didn’t I just pick up and move somewhere where things were happening, where I could have been a part of something? You do the best you can at the time, but days like this make you question everything, make you recognize the fleetingness and the loss and the ethereal nature of life itself. I hear the voices of people who are gone; I feel the presence of ghosts.

The wind blows and the rain falls and I am 8 years old staring through the screen door and listening to the thunder. I am inside I will be all right it is only thunder. But there is that knawing melancholy fear and sadness. As though every time it rains something dies.

The smell of the rain on cement reminds me of all the people I’ve worked with, all the boring ass jobs and wasted time in drafty, sterile office buildings and people I’ll never see again whose names I’ve forgotten who I once saw every day, who once were so important to my daily life. How easy it is to just walk out the door one day and never come back, to forget everyone and everything so completely.

The smell of the rain on grass reminds me of blissful hours spent on horseback, in barns caring for those beautiful, graceful animals who love you back without question, who were often my only friends. The sound of utter contentment at feeding time, of large jaws and teeth munching oats and hay, the snorting and stamping and slurping. The sound of birds chirping, wet hay and wet animals and solitude and peace. Animals don’t care who you are or what you look like or who your friends are or what you do for a living; they trust you totally, they are grateful for the simple things in life like when you show up to feed them, brush and groom them, keep them warm and happy and fed.

The cold rain falls and it is New York and I am 12 years old and my dad is flat on his back in a hospital bed and he has been there for a year and he may be there for another year. No one at school, none of my so-called friends understands this; I have given up trying to explain it to them. About the therapy, the rehab; about the endless illnesses and recoveries; about the depression and the rage and the dirty, corrupt scary New York City of the early ‘70s. About the terror of knowing and not knowing what will happen next; how your whole life changes in an instant. It takes me a long time to get over this memory/vision of Manhattan. For many years, it is a place of darkness and filth and fear.

The rain falls and it washes everything away, and the smell of the salt air wafts toward me and cleanses my lungs. All the weight and the sins of the past are meaningless; the smell of the sea reminds me that we are mere specks in the vast universe, that it is all transient, that the big important monumental things in life that we think will destroy us, that are irreparable and destructive and dangerous are just the blinks of an eye. The sea has been here before us; it will be here when we are gone. What are the cares of today beside the wind and the sea and the waves?

The rain and the grey and the melancholy linger. It drips from the rafters, it blows against the window as if to remind me that there is not much separating me from the dampness and the penetrating cold. It is easy to be jolly when the sun shines. Is there true happiness when it rains, or only the absence of sadness?

No comments:

Post a Comment