I remember days when rain would whip aslant in sheets across our craggy little trailer, isolated winds betrayed by sweeps across the leaky windows not unlike the swells that break through bulwarks of a ship. We’d sit around, my dad and I, and listen to it peen the corrugated roof, watching behind smeary glass as water trickled through the canopy of trees to fashion messy little deltas in the mud.

Back then the petrichor was tinged with bark and pine and smoke from fires doused by dreary weather. Back then, the musty scent of season after season in the overcast imbued our shaky, patched up camper with a humbled sense of cordial warmth. The rain would never foil our weekend trips. In fact it seemed the rain would welcome us at times, a sort of hazy and evocative complexion draped in blue-grey tiers along the mountain-scape that thickened as it rose to make the world a little smaller.

One weekend in the rain we spent a whole day stopping leaks and sopping water. A tiny hole in the tarp sheathing the camper had grown too large, letting weather have its way with our roof. My father, twisting up our oversaturated towels until they’d hold a bit more rain, suggested we cut the weekend short, but I refused.

We wrapped the beds in tarps, laid sleeping bags out, and savored the Pacific Northwest storm like we always had, watching rain lash the trees and purl and scatter on the brown and piny earth. We couldn’t use electric heat or light, so the kerosene lantern provided both, its gauzy golden aura drawing us together so the pulsing light erased all but a tiny sphere of existence. Sunday, the storm cleared, and I remember threads of fog evaporating from the trees like ghost into a blue abyss of sky. And I remember hoping for a cloud to form and for the rain.

Too many years have passed between those days and now. Too many rainy seasons missed and too much change. Today the petrichor is asphalt oil and rain against the glass arrives as needle skips and ticking clocks. And so I hope for clearing weather.

#MtStHelens #Washington

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