Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grey Skies

(This is another piece resurrected from the now defunct First Drafts. It was first posted in January 2006.)

Lydia peered out the kitchen window, trying to get a glimpse of the sky and see what it might portend. Only the usual grey clouds – no sky to speak of. The same grey clouds for the last month. No, that's not exactly true. They were clouds alright and they were grey – but they were always different variations of grey. The light grey of a cool, maybe misty day; the darker grey of impending rain; the clumpy, lumpy grey of possible snow. Today, it looked like rain. Heavy rain.

She didn't mind the rain. Other people complained about it all the time. But she found comfort in it. She loved torrential rains best. She loved the sound of the rapid, staccato on the roof and the sound of overflowing gutters plop, plop, plopping outside her bedroom window. Bundled and warm inside, there wasn't a more secure feeling.

As a child, she loved walking in the rain. She'd have on her red rubber slicker, a pair of black knee-high gumboots and carry her favourite floral umbrella. She'd methodically walk through every puddle she could find. The deeper, the better. She liked playing a little game where she'd wade into a deep puddle and see how far she could get without the water coming up over the edge of her boots.

It was a wonderful feeling – the cold water on the outside of her boots, the pressure pushing the rubber against her bare legs. So wet and mucky outside, but dry and clean inside. That's what she liked. The contrast. A few times, the water did get inside her boots, but the game was still worth it.

Sometimes, she'd stop and stand very still, listening to the rain pelting on her umbrella. If it was raining hard enough she could feel the slight spray that managed to get through the umbrella and onto her upturned face. A cool mist.

Lydia doesn't walk through puddles or stop, face-upturned under her umbrella anymore. It would be unseemly for a woman her age. But she still looks forward to the grey skies that predict rain.

The other day, while sitting at her front window, she watched a young girl walk home from school in the rain. She was wearing a yellow slicker with matching gumboots and a floral umbrella. She stopped at every puddle and slowly waded through. When she thought no one was looking she tipped her face upwards under her umbrella and grinned a big Cheshire cat grin.

Lydia grinned too.


Gem said...

Ell, that's beautiful. Not just about puddlejumping, I suspect.
I wanted to say out loud 'damn it, Lydia should just go and jump in the puddles, stuff unseemly' but that last line 'Lydia grinned too' made me pause. It felt like, it's ok, she has made peace with her non puddle jumping.
I hope this comment makes sense.

Wenda said...

I didn't get out much into this rainy day, but I love a rainy day, and I enjoyed a good long visit with your blog, appreciating your writing and feeling grateful that you have reposted some of your work. "Left Brain Right Brain" really impressed me and I think it merits and might enjoy a broader audience, too. I wonder if you have "submitted" it elsewhere?

Joy said...

Your descriptions take me right there where I can see, hear, feel, and experience what you are writing. I would miss this if you didn't have this blog. I love the way you write and always want to read more. Thank you. :-)

Berry Blog said...

Boy this brought back memories. Quite sensuous too. for me the puddles were great oceans and rivers I conquered. Yes there were the rubbers and challenging the edges- but that was on the way to school for me. but I couldn't wait to get home, git nearly as nekkid as I could, and go out and build popsicle stick rafts and ships, build damns to control the flow as far down the dirt street as I could, or have fake fights with my friends and die a hundred deaths falling into the great seas. And we would yell..." but but but, make believe I didn't die...I was just wounded and I came back."
Hey. Glad you're back Ell.
xoxoxoxo Charlie

ell said...

Gem: You always make sense. :-)

Wenda, I've never submitted "Left Brain/Right Brain" anywhere. I wrote it in a day as a response to a Sunday Scribblings prompt. I appreciate your comment and will consider it. On re-reading, I think it needs a little more tweaking. :)

Joy, thank you. You're always so encouraging. Must be the teacher in you.

Charlie, I'm trying to picture you nearly nekkid and building popsicle stick rafts (I did that with my cousins, too -- the building rafts part, not the nearly nekkid).