For me it is better to feel under the weather when the weather is under itself. It is fitting to be forced indoors both by the rain and by forced common sense, even with something as common as a cold. Even healthy people are staying inside, for the rain tonight is cold, mingled with visible breath that does not often come to us, but this week barrels in from a long line beginning from Texas, sweeping over us like the Angel of Death, only beautiful and luminous.

I am not that sick, and will likely not stay sick for long, but when I look out and at every moment, night or day, I see the rain, I am made better by staying warm. Coat the throat and stay sleeping so that I can let this patch of time pass without feeling that something was lost. Once you realize that a cold is not ever cured but simply something that passes, your goal then is to minimize the discomfort or pain until it had worked its way from your system. So I have Ricola lozenges, Green Tea with antioxidants, a six pack of raisins, Vick’s vap-o-rub (the creamy, non greasy formula), chicken soup broth, V8 Splash Citrus Blend, echinacea and golden seal capsules, and NyQuil to knock me out so that I can get as much rest as possible before work Monday. As long as I can still smoke, I theorize, I am not really that sick.

Being so much a home body, staying inside for the better part of a weekend is not unknown to me, and not always because I have nothing better to do. People ask what I do on the weekend, and what I tell them must lead them to think I am socially inept: I go to coffee shops and read, I run errands, I sit at home and write all day, never once checking the weather outside, never once talking on the phone. Boring? Perhaps, but it also makes me fearless when traveling or with the idea of moving, since I can always find something to occupy myself. When I think of not being in a familiar place, I seldom think of being vulnerable to anything more than my own occupied mind and as a result, few people take issue with me in public spaces.

I also find that when I have spent a lot of time at home, on the rare occasion I do leave, I end up having a bad experience when dealing with other people, and they make a bad image for others. My main contention is not that I have too few friends but that I do not have enough people with which I can do things, or at least, things that I want to do. It’s not that I doubt others can come up with fun things to do, but that I have all this stuff in my mind I want to share with someone, and the right someone is never around. So often I’d rather wait for the right person than the right circumstance, for I believe God can bring both to those who need a little push, as I may.

I stay perpetually amazed at the tiniest things. How sugar brings out the flavor of tea the way salt brings out the flavor of every food I apply it to. How lighting a candle can soothe me. How willful solitude can last so long and be pleasant while one hour I’d rather share with company lasts too long. How it is that I can be so into someone that thinking about them drives me insane and then the next day, once it had been established, I can be released from torment and put right again.

The water pumps in New Orleans are at work 24 hours a day on a regular basis just to keep the water out. I wonder how they are doing with 4 straight days of rain. For me the days of rain have been like a fast, only with direct daylight instead of food. I was irritable and anxious during the first few days, but now there is a calm, a flushing out of a blocked up system, and irrigation of my mind. In New Orleans, the world can screech to a halt for a parade, for a holiday, and for rain. And no one seems to mind, but accepts it as policy for living here, for being such a unusual place to spend your life.

I will miss that, for in Virginia, the same is said only for ice storms, those deadly and beautiful displays of odd temperatures where veins of ice hang from everything while water runs over them, sharpening them like spears. A whole world encased in glass, still and shining. Here, the rain merely clouds what it usually clear, but there, anything is made beautiful, transformed by nature on more than one occasion, which are the changing seasons, while everything here merely blends.

tabibito no waru-guchi su nari hatsu shigure

the traveler--
lets out a curse...
first winter rain

--Issa, 1818.

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