Three days of rain. This corner of earth is cloaked with water. The gutters are leaking. The creek next to our house is bursting. I haven’t ventured out much. I’m immobilised by rain. I think I’m going mad. The smell of tepid sludge has taken over me.
Just when I think I’ve reached my rain limit, the forecast tells me there’s more rain coming. I guess I better settle in and keep watching.
Whenever it rains like this I remember a Gabriel Garcia Marquez story called ‘Monologue of Isabel Watching it Rain in Macondo’. No-one can make the monotony of rain sound as exquisite as Marquez. The words are imprinted in my brain after 20 years. His delicate and haunting storytelling sticks like glue.
His words, my goodness, his words! Have you read this story? If you’re not familiar with Marquez, he’s a Columbian author and master of magical realism. Isabel is a young woman in the fictional town of Macondo, set in an undefined pocket of history. If you’re stuck in relentless days of rain then you need to read these words. Rain never sounded so beautiful.
“It rained all afternoon in a single tone. In the uniform and peaceful intensity you could hear the water fall, the way it is when you travel all afternoon on a train. But without our noticing it, the rain was penetrating too deeply into our senses. Early Monday morning, when we closed the door to avoid the cutting, icy draft that blew in from the courtyard, our senses had been filled with rain. And on Monday morning they had overflowed.”
… “At sundown on Tuesday the water tightened and hurt, like a shroud over the heart….. We no longer saw anything except the outline of the trees in the mist, with a sad and desolate sunset which left on your lips the same taste with which you awaken after having dreamed of about a stranger.”
… “I moved without direction, without will. I felt changed into a desolate meadow sown with algae and lichens, with soft sticky toadstools, fertilized by the repugnant plants of dampness and shadows.”
… “On Wednesday noon is still hadn’t finished dawning. And before three o’clock in the afternoon night had come on completely, ahead of time and sickly, with the same slow, monotonous and pitiless rhythm of the rain in the courtyard.”
And my favourite part of all, because unyielding days of rain have a way of making the best of us lose sense of time and direction:
“The notion of time, upset since the day before, disappeared completely. Then there was no Thursday. What should have been Thursday was a physical jellylike thing that could have been parted with the hands in order to look like Friday.”
Today I am watching rain. Today is Wednesday. I think.
I wonder if I’ll wake up on Friday and remember Thursday at all. Maybe this is all a dream.
This rain is wearing me down. Every drop will seep into my sleep tonight. In the morning I will frantically rush the kids to school in the slippery wet. I will arrive back home with my hair drenched and shoes soaked. I will sink into my warm chair and watch the rain again.
But if I watch rain like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, it won’t be so bad. I will let it fill my senses. Maybe words will overflow. Maybe I will see beautiful things.