I awoke this morning to the soothing sound of rain on a tin roof and the gentle rumble of distant thunder. There are some chores to do and a journey to make, but I feel like it is going to be a good day.
Our bedroom overlooks the backyard. Even under grey skies, it’s awash in color: purple and white flax; pale pink roses and the deeper pink tips of the crepe myrtle; sunny yellow black-eyed Susans and moon-white shasta daisies; pale-blue and lavender hydrangea; orange day lilies. And let’s be honest: there are some patches of lush green weeds that need pulling; put them on the “chores” list, along with the now rain-soaked hammock pillows that need to come in to dry, the wheelbarrow that’s filled with rain and needs to be dumped, the grill that needs to be recovered, and some of the grandkids’ toys that haven’t made it back to the shed yet—the things left undone that always seem to nip at my heels. Oh well; at least I can’t mow the lawn today.
It’s raining harder now. Pelting, drumming on the roof, running in rivulets down the street. The thunder that was distant a half hour ago isn’t so distant now. It rattles the windows. A flash of lightning. That journey I had planned to make over to the Western Shore is getting more complicated by the minute.
But guess what: it’s all good. We need the rain, and I can always go over to the other side tomorrow. Meanwhile, today will be a good day to write; maybe if I’m lucky, or motivated, or both, I can crank out another chapter of my new book. It’s coming along well—thanks for asking!
We had visitors and house guests over the weekend. (Maybe that’s why there are so many of those things left undone that still need doing!) Three of my wife’s eight siblings, along with their spouses, came for a visit. We had a ball. I told a friend who knows us well about the gathering of the clan on the porch and around the dinner table, and he asked if I had managed to get a word in around the edges. I said, “No; that’s why I’m talking to you now.” I’m sure I’ll pay for that wisecrack later today: talk about distant thunder!
This rain makes me think of the witches—the three wayward sisters—in Macbeth. (No; I’m not making even a remote reference to the three sisters who were together here this weekend!) Shakespeare’s witches represent all the evil, darkness, chaos, and conflict in the world. First witch: “When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” Second witch: “When the hurly-burly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won.” Like distant thunder, the witches’ speech portends all the tragedies that will unfold in the Scottish play and in our lives. Now, all three are chanting: “Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble. Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air.”
Another clap of thunder. I shiver. But then I think, “No this is just rain; it’s good for the garden.”
I’ll be right back.
Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer who lives in Chestertown. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy Magazine. His new novel “This Salted Soil,” a new children’s book, “The Ballad of Poochie McVay,” and two collections of essays (“Musing Right Along” and “I’ll Be Right Back”), are available on Amazon. Jamie’s website is Musingjamie.net.