They didn’t even bother to promise us rain for today, although I sincerely believe that the weather pundits do that (and then gleefully withhold the moisture) simply to see how we lowly humans can deal with it. There were clouds in abundance, though, which held out some hope for those of us who are incurably optimistic. That was enough to make me sit in the sunroom with a cup of Colombia Java Supreme and an English muffin with almost-butter and some homemade apricot jam.
The thing is, I always think it’s a darn shame to miss the first drops of a storm when they touch the curved windows of the sunroom and make little rivulets down the glass to magically distort the view of my familiar backyard. Even if a thousand people in the city notice the droplets at the same moment, these few drops are mine alone, and it’s as if I have a secret that everyone else has to wait for. Silly, I suppose.
Anyway, my company for this morning’s vigil was Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, as it often is. It’s a piece of music I revisit every once in a while, and every time I find something new to delight me. You’d think after all these years that I’d know every nuance, every half-tone, every dynamic that issues from the speakers, but it doesn’t always work that way. Oh, I can whistle along with the melodies—there are many in this piece—and my mood today was rainy, not sad or depressing rainy, but rather anticipatory, hoping for the water on the windows, the water on the lawn, the wonderful smell of rain-washed air.
I’ve recognized for years that music can shape my outlook. It took a while longer to realize that my mood of the moment can change the way I hear the music as well. Strange, hmmm?
It’s mostly in the classics that I notice the mood-enhancements I bring to the harmonies and the cadences. If you give me 50s/60s rock music I’m transported to my early years every time. I can’t help but remember roller skating to the sound of the Beach Boys. But classical music, that’s something else.
This morning, for instance, the music was caressing. Even in the more strident passages, it was comfortable, familiar…and I held it to me like an old friend. Then, just as it reached the last couple of variations preceding that overwhelmingly beautiful 18th, the first drops hit the window, small at first and hardly visible in the early light, then increasing in number and size until the curved window was covered with a thin sheet of glistening wet. By the time the 20th variation was ended, so was the rain. Maybe four or five minutes of visual and musical bliss.
Not enough to cure the drought. Not even enough to soak the garden more than a couple of millimeters. The newscasters tonight won’t call it “rain”. They’ll say something like “parts of the southland got a bit of moisture today” but I will know it was rain. It’s okay; it’ll be my secret.
If it’s still cloudy tomorrow, perhaps I’ll put on the Beach Boys and see what happens.
I’ll see you again after the commercial.
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