Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The weather and other meadering ruminations

Today is a beautiful day: cool, crisp, dry, sunny, breezy.  Beautiful.  There are many types of beautiful days, but this one is prototypical.

We've had some weather.  Saturday was a monsoon, which I will tell you about later.  That was followed by more rain, and also by heat and humidity.  It wasn't amenable to walking.

Today was a perfect day for a walk.  I took the dogs out, and they were fairly pleased about it.  Schubert, however would bark at every person he saw.

"Schubert," I told him, "You cannot bark at people when they are out in their own yards.  It is not the thing to do, and you must desist."

Of course, he did not listen to me, but continued to paddle along at the end of his leash, throwing up his chin and yelping with a passion unique to the small, brown, furry dog soul.

We decided to come home and have some quiet time.

I can use quiet time.  I am still tired from the wedding.  Funny, how an event like that--for all its glory and wonder--can take it out of the marrow of one's bones.

I'd planned to come home and sleep, to stay in my pajamas for three solid days.  Something about my giant east-facing bedroom window prohibits such excessive sloth.  The sun (glorious and miraculous though it is) beats in on me as it rises each morning, and there is nothing to do but get up, have coffee, and feed the dogs.

But Saturday.  Saturday was different--a monsoon, as I already mentioned.  The sun did not beat in on me, and I awoke late to a dark gray sky and the sound of pouring, streaming, cascading rain.  No trickles or patters here: it was running like faucets turned full-force out of the sky, across our roof, and through our exterior downspouts and drain pipes.

Shawn made the coffee (he usually does; his is much better than mine).  I went downstairs to sip from my mug on the sunporch, which was not sunny.  Peering out our many sunporch windows, through the deluge-blurred expanse of our yard, I saw that the stream at the back of our property was swollen and rushing, a small, angry, brown river torrenting into the lake, which was high.

"Is it going to get into our basement?" I asked Shawn, who was pouring himself a second cup of coffee after returning from the garage with the dogs, who had refused to venture into the downpour.

He thought not.  There are some timbers at the back of our yard that edge what should be landscape beds (in reality they are weed patches, but I am formulating plans for them which involve lots of daylillies and a few hostas).  It appeared to me that there were still five or six inches between the level of the water and the tops of the timbers, not a lot, but somewhat reassuring.

I leaned back on the futon with my coffee and prayed for mercy and a dry basement.  We got something like four inches in four hours, or possibly five inches in five hours.  Jon waited on going in to work, as major intersections in the city were reported to be under twelve inches of rain.  I've never experienced a rain that came that hard for that long.

It felt like living in the Marilynne Robinson novel, Housekeeping.  Have you read it?  It appealed to me because of the title and (of course) me being a lowly "homemaker" (and I put that in quotes not because I think ill of homemaking, only because I am bad at it).  Also, it had a character named Ruth, so naturally I had to read it, even though Marilynne Robinson is extremely hard for me to understand, being as abstruse as she is.  She has lovely, long, meandering sentences and probably writes exceptional poetry, which she should (write poetry, I mean), although I suppose nobody buys books of poetry these days, so a poet is forced to write novels, which then turn into something like Ms. Robinson's books, and then only academics can truly appreciate them anyway.  I digress, and having given up writing for years of practicing the more practical skills of producing prodigious pots of sloppy joes and strapping tupperwares filled with pasta salad coated with store-bought Italian dressing, clearly I have no right to have an opinion about an artist such as Marilynne Roninson, at least not a negative opinion.

Still, I can't help noting that it seems to me that a poet writing a novel ought to try to restrain herself and confine the poetry to portions of the novel, not infuse it throughout the whole thing to the point where the common among us have terrible trouble making out the plot.  That is a great deal to ask of someone trying to get through an entire, fairly long book.

Anyway, there was a lot of water and water damage in the book Housekeeping, and there was a lot of water in my yard on Saturday, and I had a peculiar feeling that I was in the book, for awhile.

On Sunday, we learned that many of the members of our church had suffered extensive water damage, and I wondered why my prayers for mercy had been answered, but not theirs.  Then I remembered Job, and I knew that this does not mean that God loves me more; it may, in fact, mean that God loves them more.  Probably He loves us all the same and just knows what each person needs, what each person can take, and what will make one person stronger but would decisively break a different person.

Our backyard was untamed before, but it is a real mess now, after the monsoon.

Our front yard, however, is quite delightful; at least, to me it is.  I've planted some (for me) unusual flowers, and they are delighting me.

Coming up the front walk, you meet leafy nasturtiums (they remind me of lily pads), 
whimsical zinnias, huge dahlias in pots, and hearty hanging baskets.

A closer view of zinnias.

And closer yet.

Nasturtiums are so cheerful!

A view of a dahlia... these are impressive blooms.

Another dahlia blossom.

(to give you an idea of the size; and I have big hands)

Well, who knew I could grow such a thing?

We've come a long way since this.


Shannon said...

I love EVERYTHING about this blog post. I love Shubster and his happy barking (but I do not love his happy barking when I am walking him).

I think your flower pictures are just beautiful and I would be tickled pink to have such a beautiful set of flowers in my front yard (if I had one) (which I will).

I keep getting caught in monsoons when I wear my black tennis shoes, and they soak all the way through and then they take several days to dry, and when they are finally dry I happily put them back on... and get caught in a new monsoon. It is very frustrating, especially because the rain has been ridiculous, and even when I have an umbrella I get soaked because my walk uphill to my apartment involves many driveways sweeping down to intersect the sidewalk, and I can't not step in the waterfall of rainwater, and then it splashes up against my foot to hit up to my knee or even mid-thigh.

It is terrible. I am not exaggerating. I am glad that your basement did not flood!

I particularly enjoyed the aside about Marilynne Robinson. Is she the one who wrote home and Gilead? (Wikipedia tells me yes.) I completely understand what you are saying, because she has such a lovely and soft writing style, but sometimes the style keeps me from being immersed in the story.

I'm afraid my tastes are not highbrow enough, because I need my authors to be straight forward, and this poetry business makes it very hard to immerse oneself or even, often, to understand. But then again, maybe I should reread those books.

This entry was delightful, and you are delightful.

ruth said...

YOU are delightful. So there!

Of the three Robinson books you list, Gilead is the most accessible, I think. I read Home first, but I think I'd have understood it a lot better if I'd read Gilead first.