Saturday, August 17, 2013

Rain on the Roof - Dispatches from Maine

“Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.”
                                                                           -- Vladimir Nabokov

Whether spending a long or a short summer vacation in Maine, one would prefer not to be cottage-bound during a dreary rainy day.  It is a day one cannot swim or canoe or sit out on the deck and enjoy a pleasant breeze off the water.  Yet every once in awhile I find days like this comforting as it limits one’s options.  It is easier to curl up on the couch with a good book, to work on a jig-saw puzzle spread across a card table, to paint or write, or to just take a cat nap when there is no place else to go or things to do in the outside world.  The sun will eventually come out and one can venture forth on new adventures.  But for the time being, life’s choices are restricted.

I have always taken a great delight in listening to the patter of raindrops on the roof of our small cottage here in Maine.  There is something calming about their random cadence that can often lull one into a gentle sleep.  This was not the case a couple of summer’s ago when we hunkered down as Hurricane Irene swept up through Maine and northern New England.  The patter of rain became a dull roar accented by the crashing sound of small branches and pine cones falling from the stately white pines surrounding the cottage.  But that was an exception to the rule.  For the most part they are gentle rain showers.  The patter of rain matched by the water dripping from the eaves.

Since I was a kid I have enjoyed the sounds of rain on the roof.  So much so that when Sally Ann and I first settled in Tucson after we were married in 1974, I commented on how much I missed the rain in the desert Southwest.  It would rain briefly now and then, but nothing like what I was use to growing up in the Midwest, or during my college undergraduate years spent in Florida.  One evening I was really missing the sound of rain on the roof, and to compensate I hung a heavy rubber poncho over the shower door in our bathroom and directed the nozzle so it would spray on the poncho.  To my heart’s content it sounded just like rain on the roof.  We laid there in bed for a few minutes and reveled in the moment, but when I went to turn the shower off, I discovered that the poncho had slipped off the door and covered the drain.  Several inches of water had collected in the bottom of the shower stall.  There was no way to open the door without opening the floodgates.  The price one must pay for a little taste of home and a fond memory of youth.

So these dreary and wet days here in Maine are special and I really don’t mind them at all.  I can sit and listen to that patter of raindrops on the roof all I want without the fuss and mess of trying to recreate them in the bathroom. 

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