It rained all day Thursday… which put me in a pensive mood. So… this post is a bit like poetry. If you haven’t listened to the recordings before, give this one a go. It might lull you to sleep perhaps… which I suppose is not a good thing at work… Just click the play arrow below. After you watch, check out photos and video at the end of the post.
Thursday, I woke to rain of the drizzle sort.
My bedroom is a cocoon. It’s dark, cozy, warm and my bed is very hard to leave on rainy days.
I heard the drops outside my window, and I knew I would have to force the day to begin. But I did. I threw off the covers, dragged on my running gear, slipped my arms into a rain jacket, tied up my shoes and set out for my morning run.
Three months into my Halifax running regime, I could probably sleepwalk my route… up Citadel hill, round and back down and then up South Park to Point Pleasant. Take a left at the dockyard to the Pier and finish off along the waterfront.
With the rain yesterday, by the time I reached the waterfront, the drops had soaked me—through and through from head to toe.
But even if it hadn’t been drizzling, I would’ve been wet from the fog anyway. It clings to everything. And with a combination of the two, rain and fog, water had collected into rivulets that trickled down my nose and dropped into the dip above my lips. When I licked it off, the saltiness, quite apart from the taste of sweat or tears, was like sea on my tongue.
When running along the pier, there’s a stretch that’s a bit of an obstacle course… it’s where the cruise ships dock and the tourists come off and venture into Halifax.
Without slowing my pace, I can now deftly weave and dart through them as they hustle to get on one of scores of tour buses that will carry them off to Peggy’s Cove or Lunenburg or Margaret’s Bay for the day.
But yesterday, there were only four buses.
I noticed, too, there was no need to realign my footfalls to accommodate a crowd, and I didn’t I hear any good-natured “Slow down girlie” or “Mornin’” from the bus drivers whose faces have become so familiar to me.
All I heard was the lonely sound of my shoes thumping on the wooden slats and the snap of flags, caught in the wind’s crosshairs.
I’ve been getting to know the sea since I’ve been here, and it seemed on edge yesterday.
Mindful something was up, as I ran along I took stock and consciously noted that the food shacks had battened down their hatches, and the outdoor patios had gone missing. And when I rounded the end of the boardwalk and saw Cows, the ice cream shack, was now closed for the season, I realized I could barely recall the icy chocolate licks of my last cone there.
Seems the sun had been packed away.
Soggy leaves underfoot, I traipsed up the final hill, to Brunswick Street and then turned down my lane and went right on the sidewalk that led to my door.
It took hours for my hair to dry and my bones to warm. But I didn’t mind. There was much for me to do and nowhere I needed to be on such a rainy day.
I tossed in a load of laundry and plunked down at my computer, which I relocated from my office to the kitchen table, beside the window, so I could watch the rain. I saw it change from drizzle to a cats and dogs downpour, and my thoughts drifted away to another wet day…
Two weeks ago, when my nephew Spencer was here, we took a trip to Peggy’s Cove. The 40-minute drive began with an overcast sky, but we had high hopes it would clear by the time we got there.
The rain began on the way, and by the time we arrived, it was coming down hard. As the drumming on the roof of the car gathered force, I knew it was the kind of rain that was not going to let up. When we arrived, it was to a rather empty parking lot.
We’d brought our rain jackets and tossed them on. And though they kept our torsos dry, our jeans were soaked in seconds where our unprotected legs poked out beneath.
When we reached the lighthouse, a deluge of rain came at us almost sideways, shocking us with its cheekiness. I’d brought an umbrella, but as soon as I put it up, the wind whipped it inside-out, rendering it useless. I fought to get the silver tubing back the way it should be, and then gave up. Spencer smiled at my efforts.
We grabbed our hoods and pulled them tight round our heads, though it was in vain for the wind grabbed them right back from us, and our hair and faces were soaked in seconds.
The sheets of rain were nonstop. We could almost see them leap up from the waves and rush towards our bodies, determined to wash over us—maybe even to knock us off our feet and slide us down the slippery rock and into the sea. Refusing to surrender and run back to the car for shelter, we scooted round the side of the lighthouse and huddled there, more bemused than annoyed at our tough luck.
We were alone on the rocks, the inhospitable weather having chased those wiser folk away. And just when we thought we might have follow suit, the gale let up, easing into a soft mist.
Spencer took out his camera, telling me that this was the perfect day and the perfect weather and the perfect light for photos.
While he clicked away, I looked out to water and imagined myself away to another time, when wives and children and mothers and fathers sat vigil, waiting for loved ones to return from the sea. Sometimes, they never did.
I thought too of a boy I once knew who loved the rain. He’d get as excited about dearie skies and soppy days as I do about the sun. I thought how he would have loved to have been in that place with the rain on that day. But that boy was from another life and as far away from me in time as in place.
“Okay, let’s go. I’ve got the shot,” Spencer’s words pulled me out of my thoughts.
Thursday afternoon, Spencer sent me the photos. And I saw he did get that shot. The perfect shot. The one that says that rainy days by the sea make you think, don’t you know, about salty mist and sweat and tears and those you once loved.
Waterfront on Thursday…
Photos: Spencer Clerk
Music: The Doors, Riders on the Storm
PS As usual… post, follow… until next week.