October 17, 2002

Fortress of Solitude: October Rain

From the front porch this morning, it would be hard to tell if any remaining song birds were singing. The drip drip plunk on the metal roof, the soft hiss of tiny but abundant raindrops, and the blessed gush of a creek from bank to bank dominates the audiosphere. We've more water headed towards the Atlantic today than we have seen since April.

It has been a devastatingly dry summer and fall. The Wx Auspix don't give us much chance for large changes in this dry tendency over the winter, so I will pretend that rain happens like this once or twice every week, like it used to, and not anguish as it begins to taper, later in the morning. And when it does break for a few minutes, I'll go do my unofficial reading of the creek level, up Unnamed Creek to the south of us, to the Cathedral Made Without Hands. Visitors, you know the place.

Later: The rains seemed to be past for now, so Buster and I donned our clothes for our outting: me, my irreplaceable $19.95 brown nylon Flight Jacket brought home from Sears literally 20 years ago, the garment in which I chose to be buried as I have been alive in it so long, and so well; and Buster, decked out in his "puppy clothes". This is a ceremony we have each morning in which the dog, upon seeing me reach for his collar or hearing the clank of dogtag on buckle, immediately goes toward the back door and sits, expectantly. I make a little speech in which I say something like "And now, by the powerlessness divested in me, it is my great honor and priviledge to bestow upon thee, Sir Buster, the Red Collar of Unmerited Favor. Shall you wear it today in fine fettle and may the hair on your toes never fall out, indoors." It always makes him very proud, indeed, and sometimes his self-esteem seems to be getting out of hand. But that's another story for another rainy day.

The damp dreariness of the day has washed yesterday's fall color out of things. Trunks, leaves, rocks and grasses appear as if several F-stops overexposed, colorful but not vibrant, sharp but lacking the depth that sunlight brings. Buster leapt over and I high-stepped through the benign torrent that blusters down a living Goose Creek once more. We chatted as we rambled down the AT (Annie Trail) to the Fortress of Solitude. Last week's ankle high water is now puppyback high, and the typically crystal-clear creekwater today has a bit of color from topsoil off a pasture a mile or more away up the ravine. Rhododendron leaves appear lacquered and stiff, black under gray sky, mirrored surfaces reflecting perfectly what little light there is.

The respite from rain was short-lived, and by the time we got back home from our walk, we were both soaking wet. The fog was flowing down off the ridges into the valley once more. We came in and took off our trekking uniforms, and settled in around the woodstove where some poplar scraps were glowing faintly red. With a cup of hot chocolate more for warming cupped wet hands that for drink, I walked back onto the front porch to check on the status of the day.

Report: God is in His Heaven, and all's well with the world, provided you put a tight enough circle on it; a sincere and earnest rain is falling on Goose creek; and Buster is considering running for office.

Posted by fred1st at October 17, 2002 05:57 AM

"The Red Collar of Unmerited Favor" I like that. If that dog's head gets any bigger, you'll not be able to fasten that collar! ;-)

Posted by: Dave Worley at October 17, 2002 01:15 PM

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