The slap of water on leaves is distinct from the thunk onto porch roof, from the plop into backyard puddle. The shearing sound of tires on wet streets, a muffled steady thrum onto asphalt tiles above my head… rainfall is a language as broad as any other. David G Haskell inspires in me a new rich awareness of soundscapes that describe every space I move through – each note, whirr and trill I can pick out is interwoven with the others. It’s an invisible interconnected network of sound-borne information.
If hearing is a muscle, I’ve been stretching mine beyond assumption.
Tonight we are warned of 50 centimetres in the next eleven hours. Not for the first time I wonder how strange it is that we do not catch rainfall in cisterns and use it as grey water, garden water, lawn water. Imagine a city equipped with rainwater cisterns that feed irrigation systems that keep greenhouse and garden plants watered all year long, plants that produce food for anyone who needs it…
A sip of tea returns me to sound; I’m no engineer.
I hardly know what to articulate here beyond the rain-described space of now. This evening is the forward edge of a full stop for decompression after many months of navigations – death, family and grief, travel, a steady art practice, schedule, and healthy follow-through proactivity. It has been good trudging with several well-balanced balls in the air, but as my body whispered slow I kept going, right into poison ivy. Days of incessant exhausting itch on my hand and face, seeping boils mopped up with kleenex. Every muscle tense with allergic reaction, with the fight against an idea.
That fight and the heatwave surrendered me into stillness.
But of course nothing is still at all, I’ve just shifted the gaze of my heart while this body, while my mind rests. From here I can hear the ring of deeper, longer questions. Not alarms, but lullabies and callings-to.
No seeping itch as I chart the rain sounds tonight, beside my Dad’s beautiful painting of the feminine. He made this for a show we did together in 1998; I’m glad to have both the memory and the piece. Mom, who died a mere four months ago is in the chair that supports my body – it belonged to her beloved, steady Gran Keebler, whose lacework was part of the December show.
Dad’s mum lived quite competently on her own for years without sight, after contracting glaucoma – this was an endless marvel for us as kids. When I think of Mom, finely tuned musician, lover of streams, good conversation and wind living in complete silence for the last three years of her life, I wonder.
I wonder what she learned, that she did not share. What do I learn and not share, from her choices? Bless her. She chose a Socratic approach, my mother, and no funeral.
Death is a deep gift worth honouring, and so I find other ways to share and respect. In the meantime, and in that way that one understands, I know my parents have found their peace.
Mine is this peace that enfolds me now, in the listening rain.
Decompression beyond assumption into awareness. Skin soft in the damp, ears stretched into the world, eyes that drink in green from new leaves like it’s belly food. Here is the forward edge, where Bells ring in low tones and the robins sing in the purple hour. I can hear it come in from the west: a new story begins, now.