Rainy Days

It's another rainy day here in LA today, but I should start out by letting you know, I love the rain.

In Southeast Texas where I grew up, you can actually smell the rain before it gets to you. You know it is going to rain because of the huge clouds that float high above you as they cross the skies, but the smell of the rain is what really gives it away.

I would stand at the front door and watch the rain come down, sometimes so hard you could not see the woods across the street. The ditches would fill up and overflow our street, sometimes coming right up to the edge of our house, covering our lawn.
Our house set up high enough that we were never in danger of flooding. And then,
it would all be over....leaving a beautiful smell in the air and a wonderful
silence, so quiet could stand on the porch and listen to the water as it drained away.

Once the rain was over we could go outside and play in the water. The ditches in front our house were actually not really deep, well at the least the one that ran along the front of our yard. But looking back I can remember standing on the edge
of the road looking down in that ditch and thinking how deep it was. The water was so clear running in the ditch you could see the bottom. My brother and I would
wade off in the ditch (yes barefoot) and play in the water that ran across our road and think
nothing of it, only laughing and having a great time. To this very day I can remember the feel of the cold water that was in that ditch as I stepped in. I can still feel the current against my legs as I waded in deeper.

Our yard was an acre of land big. On one side of the acre was the house and main yard and we refered to the other half simply as "the half acre". Even my nieces and nephews ,who also grew up around my Mom and Dad's house, refer to it still as
that. Sometimes when we would have a really big rainstorm, the water would overflow
from the ditches and cover a great deal of the half acre. Then the real fun would start. The water would flow across the grass and sometimes come up to our knees as we waded off in the water. We were never allowed to go any further than up to our knees. We would throw small sticks in the current and watch them float way or make small paper boats and sail them in the currents.
We would watch as groups of ants would float by on the current,sometimes large groups, we always thought they were crowded together on a floating stick or something. We would later learn that the ants we all balled up together so they could float like that. We did have to be careful because there were "critters" in the water with us sometimes. We would just about always see
crayfish and sometimes a snake or two swimming across the top of the water looking for a higher place to get to. Once after a really large rain we came across a type of eel out on the half acre at the edge of the water. It has come from a pond that was several acres across from where we lived and had floated over on the current of the run off. It was an amazing creature. Our "biggest" enemy when we played in the water was.....the snapping turtle. We were so afraid of them. It was a very rare thing to see one at anytime, but sometimes one come around. They were nasty looking turtles, their shells would look like some kind of armour and they had shart beak like noise, they were called snapping turtles for a reason, they had powerful jaws and could snap down on a stick and break it or it could do the same to your finger or toe
if you surprised them in the water. Sad thing is,I have not seen one in many many years now.

Throughout the rest of my life, I would always love the rain. Where ever I have lived through the years, my neighbors would always see me out walking in the rain in my sweatshirt and ball cap. Rainy days are always special for me.

Living in the Desert, rainy days were especially special because they came by so rarely. I learned early on the wonderful smell of a desert rain. If we had a really rainy winter, like the one we have had this year, that would mean we would have
a beautiful spring with all the desert flowers blooming in great abundance.

Since I moved into the City, I still enjoy my rainy days, but the smells are oh so different. I see the rains as a cleansing of everything here. The smell of wet asphalt was a new smell for me to see as a rain smell. But in the early morning
stillness of a rainy morning here in the City, I still enjoy the sound and the smell of cool rainy day.


ps..for those of you who may not know, I grew up in a rural area, the road in front of our house was a dirt road for many years of my life and we were the only house on the street. Our "neighborhood" was totally surrounded by woods. Nothing like a modern day neighborshood today.