It’s raining in California. A lot. I’ve lived in the midwest, the mountains, the desert, and the northeast, but California weather is weird. Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert (which I reviewed here) details how California’s precipitation comes in 30 year cycles. Since we only have 150 years of modern weather records, that’s 5 cycles of rain. That’s not much data. So it causes havok. In 1916, San Diego hired a guy named Hatfield to literally make it rain. Just as he started work, it rained torrentially, and Hatfield had to flee a lynch mob. (Below is the Backstory Podcast segment on this story.)
I visited beautiful Balboa Park (home of the San Diego Zoo) in endless rain. I braved bus stops without awnings and big puddles. Because San Diegans live outdoors so much, only one restaurant had indoor seating, and was full of dripping puddle people like me. It was a harrowing adventure for one from the desert. I took a few rain-speckled pictures and fled back to the museums. I was lucky they weren’t outdoors too!
Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.
“the rain man”
I rolled into Pittsburgh around 3 PM; by 5, the rain had begun. I can travel at 400 miles an hour 30,000 feet above the ground—it’s called a jet airplane. Those hours gazing out the window at the blue sky and the bright sun, and those first few minutes on the ground in a new place, the beams of sun warming my skin and the green leaves of trees shining—those are rare and special moments in my life. Because where ever I go, the rain follows me. At the least, the clouds follow.
The rain followed my father too. He told me that we have an obligation to keep to the road. He was a travelling salesman, and I didn’t see him too often. I didn’t understand at the time what he meant. Now I do, and I travel and sell too. He said there were other people of the rain, that we were the origin of rain dances, special men who, more attuned to nature, could turn the rain on and off with a focus of concentration and desire.
I wonder if maybe everybody’s got it, and maybe my switch just won’t turn off. Dad said his father learned to control his own curse, over many years, or maybe his curse just weakened with age. Dad died last year in a flash flood outside Las Vegas. He probably thought he was safe there. I’m so tired and I’m so alone, and more than anything, I want to stop running.