Louisiana is the wettest place that I have ever lived. The sky opens up and pours rain for days at a time. It’s also the hottest place I’ve ever lived, where 100 degree sun beats down upon you from June through September, baking every flowering plant that tries to grow into oblivion. The things and people that live here understand that they need to be resilient, to find a way to cope with extremes.
Louisianans go out in the rain, barefoot – they help dig ditches, put on a pot of beans to simmer and proudly wave purple and gold flags outside their doors. The rain doesn’t stop the parades or the random street bands – doesn’t stop them putting on their boots and boiling up some crawfish. The heat doesn’t stop them from spending the summer in the sun, fishing and swimming in the muddy lake water that feels like a warm bath.
The longer I stay in Louisiana, the more I begin to feel it creeping into my bones, settling there like an old friend or a memory. I always loved the rain, but this rain is different from the cold Midwestern rains that came and went fast, leaving a chill behind. Southern rain is slower, warmer, longer – and lingers afterward. Southern heat is also slower, longer – lingering for many months, hanging in the air as if to say “I belong here.”
I’m not sure yet if I belong here, in the rain and the heat which is so much a part of the fabric of Louisiana. Each year I feel a bit more a part of it, but not completely of it. Perhaps this will always be true, no matter how long I live here or where I move after.
This morning, like many mornings here, I woke to rain. And I wrote.
House quiet, asleep, early morning rain
tip-tapping at my window
soft piano music tinkling
grey light falls through the slats.
I sit, watching the rain
its constant fall from the roof
dripping in a steady stream
soaking soft ground below.
This grey day hangs in a mist around me
enfolding me in a drowsy, still-sleepy state
a stillness, as the raindrops
move around me, dancing lightly.
They tempt me to come outside
my bare feet sinking into wet grass
face upturned to the open sky
tasting warm drops on my tongue.
Copyright August 18, 2017 Stacie Eirich
Originally posted May 17 2016