Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rain is the lens

Seattleites complain a lot about the rain.

I know I've mentioned this before. I guess it still surprises me. You'd think we'd be used to it, the way my Midwestern Grandma is philosophically stoic about tornadoes, and hot weather. But you'd be wrong.

I find the rain beautiful. On a long ramble last week, I saw that clouds had filtered the light to this kind of silvery haze. Raindrops acted as prisms, turning bare branches glittery, studding the graceful curve of an early tulip leaf. It was as though Liberace's tailor had just passed through my neighborhood with a Bedazzler.

A few years ago I attended a writer's workshop at Iowa University. It's a prestigious program and we were lucky enough to have Marilynne Robinson as our professor. She had gotten her MA in Seattle, and her strongest memory of her time here was that her shoes had succumbed to the cold and the damp and finally rotted. At the time it annoyed me that she focused on such an ugly detail about my fair city. As the weeks wore on, though, I realized that living in Iowa City was a deliberate choice. She loved her adopted state--its flatness and open spaces and reticent residents--for all the reasons many people, me included, might not.

So, I love Seattle for reasons other might not. Yes, rain. And that's okay.

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