Writing While it Floods

It’s storming again.

Big, fat rain drops pelting down from the sky.

Violently. They beat against the windows and assault the ground,

like tiny hammers. Worms escape from the earth to crawl their way higher,

onto roads and sidewalks, trying not to drown.

Tiny bumps are rising from the skin on my bare arms

and I tuck them in closer to my body.

I squat down on the splintery boards of our little balcony

and listen to the barrage against the roof and leaves.

The crick has overflowed its boundaries and spilled over

into the baseball field just down the road, past the grocery store.

I know it won’t reach us here on the upper floor of a building that’s standing on a hill.

There’s pictures of cars floating in flooded underpasses on TV,

from the people who were just a little too daring.

Luckily, the motorcyclist in my family managed to get home

before it really started coming down. I don’t imagine bikes mix well with flood waters.

It’s not so bad so far, no kayaks in the department store parking lots this year,

but don’t mention that out-loud, you don’t wanna jinx it.

A bedraggled squirrel tries to climb up under the shelter of our balcony but

ducks back down the fire escape when he sees me there already.

The trees across from where I’m squatting are startlingly green under the grey clouds

and the air is filled with that worm-rain smell that I have such a hard time

describing accurately. Petrichor, it’s called. But it’s mixed with the smell of exhaust and

other human chemicals. The rain here smells different than it did where we used to live.

My mother’s standing in the kitchen and we’re talking through the screen doorway.

We’re waiting calmly for the rain to let up, mildly anxious that

the weather forecasters might be wrong in their prediction that the main rivers won’t

reach flood stage this time around. I’m reviewing, with my mother,

my mental list of which relatives do and do not live in the flood zones right now

and recalling stories from the big flood several years back, when my attempt

to walk to campus was interrupted by my realization

that I wouldn’t be getting through without a boat. It’s starting to let up now

and we’re relieved to see the text messages from my cousin saying they are still dry.

Hopefully, the water will have time to recede before the next downpour comes.

Despite the  anxiety it causes, I’ve always loved the rain.


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