I love rain.

I love the way rain smells, in winter, in summer, in spring, in autumn. On dirt, on pavement, on cement, on grass.

I love the way rain sounds, against rocks, into ponds and puddles, on car roofs, on tin shingles, against tarps and tents, on leaves, in eaves.

I love the way rain looks, through and against windows, falling in drops and drizzles, pouring in sheets.

I love the way rain feels, warm and soft, cold and hard, stinging hands or washing my face.

I do not taste the rain. (though I could wax poetic about it being refreshing or cool or cleansing.) I do not taste the rain.

Not directly.

Where I lived in Kenya, it did not rain much. Over more than a year, it only rained two months, consecutively. The second rainy season did not occur. It became cold, and wet, and muddy. Cold, at least, for someone who always wore a skirt.

Once I went out with a mobile clinic and the driver was not careful about which puddles to drive through, and our car ceased to work. That was not a good part of rain.

But, since the land where I lived was semi-arid, we had water piped in to a tap outside my house. It was hard to get water. The tap was not always on, or clear of 50 girls waiting to get water. But during the rainy season, I did not have to wait for the tap, I collected water running off my roof. Glorious, free water. After the first couple of days, after my roof had been cleaned off by the first round of rainfall, the roof was clean, and I could collect water in my 20 litre buckets. As I let the water settle before adding to my kitumbe, the sediments in the water cleared out and fell to the bottom.

That was good water. More because I did not need to worry about how it traveled, or came through the pipes, or have to wait in line for it. It was from my roof, and I had plenty.

It was cold. I tried washing my hair in it once, but it was neither private enough or warm enough for me to try that too often.

It rained all through November and December. And when I returned after visiting the US for Christmas, I realized that my house had flooded. Too much water. In the wrong place. Only two or three inches, really, but through my entire house there was a layer of mud and still puddles in my bedroom. Luckily, I did not store many things on my floor, so nothing was really destroyed, but I was ready to leave again.

And I didn’t. I stayed. And mopped it up. And continued to live in my house. Where it didn’t rain anymore.


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