Rain makes the November woods less gray: tree trunks green up as the moss swells and lichens open their pores. The contrast between dark bareness and bright accretion is repeated in the stones of my garden, which remind me of barnacled sea creatures. In back of the house, beyond my kitchen window, the leafless black raspberry canes glisten, a tangle of arches in every shade of purple.
At least it’s a warm rain. I go out to take a leak in the driveway, and find myself gazing at the wild rosehips in front of the wall — such an enticing red! A squirrel crouches on a branch to husk a walnut, fur twitching under the too-short porch of its tail.
Flooded out of its hole beside the old stone well, a garter snake, too, looks unusually brightly colored. At my approach, it shrinks and expands simultaneously, curling into an S shape and flattening its body: yellow stripes on dark brown like a multi-lane highway viewed from the air. All empty threat, of course, but still I keep my distance. Up at the bird feeder, the tufted titmice look like punk rockers with their crests matted into liberty spikes.
It’s raining, it’s pouring, we used to chant when we were five — but nobody’s snoring here yet. In this kind of rain, you’d think the damn gutters would clean themselves, wouldn’t you? I brew a rare second cup of coffee.
The wind is from the east, and the barometric pressure is low enough to be detectable as a sort of nameless elation. I keep going out onto the porch to watch the shreds of cloud scudding in over the treetops, gray against the white cloud ceiling.
Loud at first, the rain
grows quieter by the hour
on a hillside deep
in fallen leaves.