Rain, rain, here to stay

Think Seattle in South America. That’s Cuenca.

Rain-wise, at least.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 09.26.56

borrowed from vivatropical.com

We can pretty much count on a cloudburst of some kind at least once a day.  Some days it pours.  Some days it spits. Most days the precipitation pops out of nowhere and moves on.

We’ve pretty much got in the habit of carrying our umbrellas with us.  But many Cuencanos just weather the storms and walk on without any head covering.  After all, the sun will come out and dry up all the rain sooner or later.

We’re in the rainy season now–March to May. And thanks to El Niño, there’s been more downpours than usual.  A welcome relief, some say, after the drought of last year brought brown grass and fewer crops.

Since we moved, I miss the telltale signs of rainfall by the swollen Tomebamba River outside my window.  I found something comforting about watching  rushing water push its way over rocks. Day after day the same. Sometimes higher, other days lower. But constant. Stopping for no one and nothing.

Like life. It just keeps on going. Obstacles in the way but water just moves over and around it.

A German man, Arthur Holtzbrinck, moved to our small town in the 60s for a few years. Looking at it now, I wonder why he chose Greenfield, Illinois, a one-light town sitting on Rt. 67 between St. Louis and Chicago. The population hovered (and continues to hover) around 1100. Why and how he came to call this berg his home remains a mystery.  But home it was.

I remember few things about him.

He always smelled of garlic. He actually drank garlic juice. Powerful and off-putting.

He wore suits. A lot.  I hardly remember him in anything but.

He spoke with a thick German accent that I found difficult to follow.

I felt uncomfortable around him.

He liked my parents, particularly my mom.  He loved the fact that she played the piano so well.  And he loved to sing. And he sang often. My memory may be faulty, but I remember a deep bass voice.  When he visited our house — often for Sunday dinner — he would ask mom to play and they would provide mini-concerts for all who lingered after dessert and dishes were done.

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 08.12.12His favorite song was “Old Man River” by Jerome KernsAnd one Sunday morning, he sang it during church. I cringed knowing that my dad, Pastor Thornton, would most certainly not approve of that kind of music for worship. Somehow Arthur pulled it off. He had outfoxed the preacher which in my 12-year old mind was a pretty amazing achievement.

Ol’ man river,
Dat ol‘ man river
He mus’ know sumpin’
But don’t say nuthin‘,
He jes‘ keeps rollin’
He keeps on rollin’ along.

The sight of water flowing has soothed me for as long as I can remember. I can sit mesmerized, lost in the movement and sounds of water seeking its destination. I find comfort in the gurgles and splashes. I find solace in the fact that rocks remain firm as the torrents swirl around them.


You know, I don’t really know where I’m going with this.

Rain to river to immovable rocks.

Memories from childhood and images that calm and settle my emotions.

A big insight just now.  I’ve lost interest in the Blog Challenge.  I see no reason to continue coming up with subjects that connect with random letters of the alphabet.  Writing for me comes out of a need to examine, feel, share, express or vomit up feelings, or connect through words with the outside world.

I guess I’m reconsidering the whole thing of writing.

Did you know there are more than 4,000,000 titles available on Amazon.com?  Over four million men and women have something to say and will do just about anything to get someone to read it.

I guess I’m the 4,000,001st.

And isn’t that too much chatter in the world?

Me thinks it is.

Others are much more eloquent than I.

Ah gits weary
An‘ sick of tryin’
Ah’m tired of livin’
Anskeered of dyin’,
But ol‘ man river,
He jes‘ keeps rolling’ along.

Me too. Not tired of livin’.  Maybe tired of tryin’.

So I’ll  just keep rolling along.

9 thoughts on “Rain, rain, here to stay

  1. So glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t get this thing about blogging every single day just to be blogging. People need time to think, time to make connections, to understand our hearts and our minds and how they intersect with each other and with the world around us. I admire you for taking a step back and recognizing you didn’t have to complete that challenge. Thanks for sharing your memories of your childhood, that town, that man, your mom and dad, that song. Vignettes like that, the ones that just pop out as one moves from one moment to another, making connections between the present and the past–and sometimes the future–are what make this thing called the Internet so valuable. Ordinary people sharing the humanness of our lives.

    With gratitude.


  2. Whether or not your blogs coincide with the letters of the alphabet does not concern me. I just hope your emails keep arriving on my phone as I look forward each morning to reading about your experiences.

    I loved your description of water and rivers and of course Ol’ Man River. A very enjoyable and thought provoking post.


  3. I have avoided challenges, for the most part, because I didn’t want that feeling of spewing stuff for the sake of it. The sheer number of bloggers, writters, tweaters, pinners makes me step back at times, as well. What have I got to add?

    Since coming home, I’ve had a hard time coming up with stories to tell that others (even my family and closest friends; perhaps, especially my family and closest friends) might find remotely interesting. I am now living ‘real life’ and not feeling the need to share. This post sort of validates my recent step back.

    Please keep sharing your experiences when the spirit moves you (I, for one, enjoy learning about your day-to-day).

    I am refuse to allow Old Man River to grow into a full fledged ear worm. Nope. Not singing it. Not. Going. To. Happen.


  4. i love “full fledged ear worm”! i know what you mean, i sang that song on and off most of the day!
    thank you so much for your response. i think the good thing that came out of this exercise for me is that i connected with you and a few others who i really like! and “get”. i so appreciate you writing me. yes, so much stuff out there to read. but i think if what we write is genuine and for the pure motive of expression and not “attention” then we are contributing. we find a few others we enjoy keeping up with and life is good. sounds like you, too, only want to add something to the mix if it enhances and contributes…not just grows volume! look forward to your future posts. again, thanks.


  5. Such a gorgeous picture! As for the writing…writers write because they have something to say. Whether anyone will hear it, we just can’t know. That doesn’t make it easy, not by a long shot.

    I sometimes feel like I’m shouting into the cacophony with my writing, but then something you say, one little thing you say, resounds with someone else.

    And it’s worth it.

    A Bit to Read


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