Singing in the rain

Two fisherfolk in the rain, waiting for the storm.I sometimes imagine being inside a downpour to be like sitting on the control deck of the Millenium Falcon, racing through some of those multi-colored masses of gases I’ve seen from the Hubble space telescope.

I was raised at one end of a lake about two miles long. Mom would call us in from the water when she thought a storm was coming, but I always liked sitting at the edge of the water, or at least on the front porch, and watch downpour drag up the lake like a gray woolen blanket shrinking the lake until, finally, the water enveloped me so completely there was only the sense of being submerged and the sound of rain splashing through the trees and onto the roof in a steadily increasing roar.

I mentioned the experience to a friend and he told of his “Ole Pap sitting out on the back porch in his chair. He did that every rain storm, whether it was 10 in the morning or 2 in the morning. He couldn’t not be in that chair, listening to all the sounds from the woods, and the rain hitting the tin roof of the doghouse where the hounds left the runs and went in and laid on the wood beds he had made for them.

And when the rain stopped, he’d rise up without a word and head inside.

To my west, a line of mountains pushes the clouds up and, usually harmlessly, over my head, to land again somewhere east of me. But the past few days, the clouds have been particularly heavy, and conditions have conspired to drop seven inches on my backyard in three days. And the sky color portends more to come.

“We’ve had 12.5 inches so far this month,” Hamiltonban Supervisor Ed Deardorff said Tuesday evening of his gauge on Cold Spring Road.

Someone said nearly 42 inches this year, but it was not clear whether that figure included snowfall, or the amount of water contained in the snowfall. Al Roker, the weather guy for NBC News, said Wednesday night the already soaked east cost has experienced a 30 percent increase – due to climate change – in days with more than three inches of rain, and it’s not due to let up for another week or so.

As I walk down the trail to the pond, the rain makes a dull roar through the trees. Just off the trail, a clump of fern grows out of decomposing tree stump, a single stalk waving back and forth like a metronome in the otherwise still group. Most critters are smarter than I, and holed up where they can be warm and dry, but I like being out in the rain.

It turned out I was not alone enjoying the rain, At the water’s edge, a trio of fisherfolk were catching sunfish. Phil was shallow-frying some of the bluegills while his wife and his brother visiting from Virginia attempted to catch more. We visited before they headed for home and dry clothes and I wandered farther down the trail …

Where I found … tiny frogs, about a quarter-inch long. Had they not moved, I would likely have stepped on at least some of them – Mountain Chorus frogs, I think.

I am always amazed how much song these little guys put out on a hot summer evening. I think I will go back and try to find them. Maybe it will still be raining; a bonus for me. And maybe that trio of fisherfolk will be around. I would like to get to know them better, and maybe learn some things.

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