Friends with the Rain

She was used to rain. Spring showers, summer thunderstorms, autumn squalls, winter hail and sleet and snow. Rain was an old friend. As a little girl she’d splashed in puddles on the pavement until her rain boots (purple with pink flowers on them) had sloshed.

Still, it was as if she’d never noticed it before. Rain used to sneak up on her, streaking the classroom window (“If you’d only check the weather report….”), catching her walking outside without an umbrella. Now, no matter what else she was doing and how engrossed in it she was, Andy found herself checking the sky every ten or fifteen minutes. When the fog rose, when the fog died, when the rain swung in off the ocean or crept down from the north, as it did many times a day, she noticed and reacted, covering her fire and rearranging herself and her projects someplace drier. She started reading the clouds like an instruction manual.

Clouds rising high, grey below and white above, against a blue-green sky. Rain gathering. If it was a band of clouds, there was no escaping it, but scattered clouds meant she had to keep a sharp eye out to see if it would hit or if it would pass by. Rain made the fishy-things rise, damped the fuel for the fire, fifty other little changes in air and salt and breeze and food and projects. She worked through the rain when she could, because in this climate you couldn’t hide from the rain and get anything done, but it was a question of wind and energy and darkness. If the weather shut your eyes with blowing sand, hissed nonsense words in your ear with a salty wind, if lightning started striking the sea and flickering patterns in the clouds, it was no good continuing hunting or gathering or building. Safety first. Safety, always, first.

The sky was a friend, Andy thought in less collected moments. It talked to her. Sometimes happy, sometimes angry, sometimes whimsical. The sky was dangerous.

She still liked the rain.