Jumat, 20 Juli 2012

Rain: Live and Acoustic

Last night before I fell asleep -- and, even better, as I fell asleep -- I listened to rain. The windows were open, I had a roof over my head, and the world felt lovely and right. Rain is a sort of music, and the pleasure of it comes, in part, from long drought and unexpected arrival. It has occurred to me -- on other, different nights when sleep will not come -- that I could listen to a recording of rain. It's easier now than ever... as near as a free app on the iPhone. And yet. Something would be lost. What would happen to the sound of real rain if I supplemented dry, sleepless nights with moist recordings of autumn storms? What would happen to my experience of rain? I won't risk that, not for a hundred nights of good sleep induced by recorded drips and drops.

People used to wait for things all year: a Christmas orange! And then there's Wallace Stegner's beautiful, agonizing story, "Goin' To Town," about a boy waiting for a trip over the mountains on the Fourth of July (for a band and lemonade stands and a crowd and a parade and a ball game and fireworks), only to have his trip canceled because the family Ford won't start. That story sticks with me: it stains my bones, so purely, so viscerally does it share childhood anticipation and disappointment.

So much is available to us now so quickly. Want an orange? They're everywhere, every day. Want lemonade? It's everywhere. Want something different? Want to hear Beethoven? Spotify! (Which sounds like a spell taught at Hogwarts, doesn't it? Accio! Here is your music, like magic!) As a poet, I dwell in imaginary places, and my world is richer for that. But to wait for rain, real rain, is to know the pleasure of something real, something of this earth, something that sounds as a Christmas orange might once have tasted.

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