4am walks in the rain

I haven’t been sleeping real good. Nerves, I guess. We kept my eldest home for much of last school year to attempt home school, but we’re off to 7th grade today and *so anxious*. We’re dealing with anxiety in our house the way that Los Angeles is dealing with a light drizzle, in terms of scale.

It doesn’t rain much in Northern Nevada, although you may be surprised to hear that I am near enough SoCal in this spot that our rain is from the tropical storm too.

On the bright side, not sleeping well during such a rainy time period means that I can take walks in the rain, at night. I took a 4am rainy walk just now. The coyotes were out again. They sound like babies the first time they cry, every time.

Streetlights are on, but they aren’t real bright, and they don’t go down the trails between houses. It’s pretty black down there. You only get the shape of things from ambient light reflected off the clouds. The geometry of tree copses, overgrown ditches, and split rail fence, but not the colors or textures.

What I enjoyed most about the rain in the dark was the way it paints an audible landscape. It’s sprinkling just a bit, but it’s been going a while, so the gutters are full and everything is dripping. You can tell from the echoes down a drain how wide and deep it is. The patter against roofs can tell you what your neighbor’s corrugated awning is made out of, exactly. The mix of quiet-hiss to drumming-tap communicates how much sand vs concrete you’re walking around. The bushes don’t rustle with lizards when I pass; they’re already hunkered down. There is no movement but mine and the rain.

Do you ever think about how your tongue knows how everything will taste when you look at it? Look at the wall, look at the carpet, look at the bush outside. Your tongue can imagine the flavor. Can you imagine the flavor and texture if you don’t see it, but you hear the rain bouncing off of it? How many senses do you need? How different is the world when you perceive it in different ways? Can you taste the corrugated plastic composite on that gazebo? Can you taste the plum tree leaves?

Almost everyone is asleep at 4am, but it’s quiet enough that you can hear everyone who isn’t. A mile away, I could hear the whisper of a car going to the gym. But otherwise it’s empty. Bustling suburbs turned liminal. Nothing but patter-patter and coyote baby cries.

Except I’m back home now with all the anxiety, the closed air, the litter boxes that need scooping. My hips hurt from the walk. I’m going back to bed.

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