Florida Rain

I’m Thinking of Florida Rain

Yesterday was a nice day, but somehow I felt disembodied and disconnected. Susan and I were in Publix after Nic’s swim lesson to pick up some stuff for dinner, and I realized how out of place I felt. Even though everything was so familiar, I felt like I didn’t belong anymore. I realized I’d been gone from Florida for over 4 years, and I was a stranger again, in what was once home to me. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. It hit me that while I had been gone for 4+ years, I’d logged more time in Maryland than even Tennessee. What does that mean, I don’t know. It was just a realization. But I am starting to wonder just where do I belong? Right now, there aren’t any answers, and I think that is something that has been in the back of my mind for a while. Where and what is home? Right now I just don’t belong anywhere and that hurts and brings up all sorts of old insecurities.

When we were walking out to the car at Publix, the sky was so darkly ominous and yet hypnotically lovely to view. How effortlessly I understood its portent.  One huge, overarching, black, diaphanous rain cloud. It’s so strange how very different this same atmospheric melee looks here and how it looks at home. Susan had to pull me away from my cloud gazing so we could scramble to get home before the rain started to fall.

Brian and I sat out on the patio last night talking while Susan was getting Nic to bed. I began to notice a familiar sound and then a familiar feeling came over me. It was raining pretty steadily, and I recalled it as a sound I had heard most of my conscious life, and that is the sound of rain falling on an aluminum patio roof. It was comforting, and yet disconcerting at the same time.  Comforting because it was something from my past that I could recall as elemental, soothing and something that I missed. Rain just doesn’t sound that way to me at home. Rain at home is so different than here. But then again, I don’t have an aluminum patio roof either. It disconcerted me because I’m not as connected to here as much as I would like to be. More of my old insecurity rising to the surface.

It’s kind of interesting that the rain entranced us both last night. I wonder what that means in the great cosmic way of the world. And not so much that we were both fascinated and lured by it- but more that we each were seduced by it’s sound. But then again, it is a coincidence that we shared, so perhaps it means there are messages for us. I don’t know. So I’ll just keep listening for the message.

So I guess my topic to you today is about rain and what feelings, thoughts and memories it provokes in me. Florida rain is different than Maryland rain. It may seem strange that I write that, but it’s more than just a topological difference between hills and flat lands. Rain in Florida is so encompassing — seductive and elemental. It is almost like a mating ritual.

The Florida sky before a thunderstorm is dramatic, not just a mixture of similar shades of gray, but swirly gossamer objects of black, white, blue, and orange –almost like women’s lingerie, an unmistakable sign that a seduction is about to begin. The rain cloud begins her rhythmic dance, teasingly advertising the coming attraction. In the heat of the moment, she flashes her curvaceous, tumescent clouds, knowing that shortly she will reveal her wondrous and thundering power in the simple act of nourishing the earth with her moisture. And each time you experience it; it is as if it were the first time, the anticipation, and the longing and the fear. Intrigued, you’re never quite sure what will be revealed; always aware that it will be a raw, exposed experience.

The air is wet and charged just before it begins — you shiver with anticipation that something slightly dangerous, monumental and ancient is about to happen.  And rain sweeps you up in her embrace and drives the funnel of atmospheric chaos down into your inner core so that you can really feel the barometric changes.  The temperature suddenly drops just as the rain slowly begins to build to its torrential downpour and your skin gets goose bumps, signaling that the magical experience has commenced. Hot, swollen drops of rain splash onto the earth and make the most entrancing sound on sidewalks and windshields and aluminum patio rooftops. The perfect communion between the heavens and earth, their sound is rhythmical and soothing. And as the physical onslaught continues to build towards climax- drumming and driving its moisture repeatedly into the loins of the earth until the canals and lakes and ponds overflow their banks– flooding the land and houses with silt. One never knows how long the rain will continue her mating with the earth, some times it is a quick, teasing interlude, and other times an exquisitely drawn out affair. Finally spent and satisfied- she has achieved her release.

And the rain is the rain, and it goes as quickly as it comes, and when it is over, the heat and humidity of the day comes rushing back to envelop you in a warm, enduring embrace, letting you know that no matter what just happened, the sun will always come back to shine again upon your face. And so you come out of the storm, a little spent for the emotions and physicality you experienced.  But in Florida, the tumultuous rain is always lurking, and looking for another chance to return to stir up the heavens and co-mingle again with the earth.