Sunday, September 20, 2015

To sleep or capture rain for later—that is the question

When the rain began to fall before dawn last Tuesday, I apparently incorporated it into my dream, because I was suddenly surfing with Kim Basinger. It did not strike me as weird at all, even though nobody has seen her since 1992. 

The waves roared and carried us to shore, where Billy Crystal stood holding out a Mai Tai for each of us. He was in a lime green tux, and as the dream fizzled, he morphed into a frog which croaked, "I'll have what she's having." 

When I woke up, I realized the weirdest part of the whole thing was that it was raining in September. Hard. Oh, we got some drizzle in July, which was also strange, but not satisfyingly so; a lot like the last five or six Johnny Depp movies. 

Tuesday morning it was pouring, just gloriously pummeling my roof, as if, like they say in Greece, it was raining chair legs.

It being 3 a.m., I knew if I got up to set out buckets it would take another hour to get back to sleep, so I let it go. I felt guilty, but there is nothing more soothing than a shear of thunderless rain, so I melted back into slumber like a pat of sleepy butter. Unfortunately, I didn't dream up a better metaphor.

Different cultures around the world use different colorful phrases to describe when it's really coming down. In the Czech Republic, they evidently say "Tractors are falling." In Denmark the phrase is, it's "raining cobbler boys." In South Africa they say "It's raining old women with clubs." In the Netherlands, they are so cultured it rains "pipe stems."

In Portugal it rains "pocket knives," in Germany, "puppies," and in Norway, "troll women." My favorite, though, is Argentina, where they say "it's raining dung head-first." I think we should borrow that one and use it when Congress is in session.

Once up, I put on my raincoat and went about capturing as much water as I could. I felt like one of the brooms carrying buckets in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." I got completely soaked, but next month my thirsty lawn and flowers will get some relief. 

I may have to stick to the back yard, though. If things look too green in the front, the neighbors will assume I'm a water waster, and these days that's even worse than being a climatologist.


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