It’s Raining Again

My local library is a great place to sit when it rains. Huge windows look out onto beautifully manicured gardens. Beyond that lies the main road. The windows wrap around the building creating a sense of panorama that lets in light but no wind.

Maple trees line the back wall. Their pale green leaves cup like hands, holding the rain for a moment before it spills in an arc, casting lines on the ground like signposts.

A man totters, carrying a carton of eggs. I sit on the edge of my seat as he threatens to lose his footing. He leans forward and sideways, a seasoned slapstick performer. If he had a hat, I’m sure he would tip it in my direction, maybe squirt me with a plastic flower.

A little boy approaches the main entrance with his mother, wearing a Wiggles raincoat. He is carrying two plastic buckets, one yellow, one fire-engine red. They are full of water. He wants to bring them into the library. The librarian emerges from behind her desk, points to the list of prohibited items on the wall. To my surprise it says : No Buckets. I wonder for a moment if I have slipped through the looking glass into another world where things are not as they seem. Perhaps it is more common than I think for little boys to attempt to bring buckets of water into a public library. Perhaps it is so common it has become a nuisance.

The little boy stands his ground as his mother tries to get him to leave his buckets outside. ‘Someone will steal them,’ he says. ‘It is my rain.’ His mother shows him a chair by the window, that if he leaves the buckets there he will be able to keep an eye on them. He rushes inside, plonks himself in the chair and watches more rain gather in his buckets. After a while I can appreciate his fascination – the water turns red or the colour of dull sunlight depending on which bucket it falls in. It is mesmerising.

The computer booths are full. Out of ten computers, five of them are being used by women dressed in brightly-coloured clothes. They are all looking at online dating sites. I wonder if they know each other, if they have decided together that today is the day they will find true love. Some of them laugh as they survey the profiles of possible suitors, others look grim.

The readers in the library have made themselves at home, tucked into their chairs like children watching their favourite film. A small man with glasses reads a book on mountain climbing, he smiles and moves his lips. Perhaps he dreams of conquering Everest.

A thin girl flicks nervously through a book about decorating wedding cakes, shaking her head at every page. She bites her lip. Perhaps she is having second thoughts. The little boy has forgotten his buckets and reads a book on trains, puffing like a steam engine as he turns the page.

Raindrops coat the windows, tendrils of crystal. The grass has sprung to attention, greener than freshly picked limes. I imagine wellington boots squeaking upon it or ducks sashaying with pleasure. The earth blooms, sighs with relief after months of drought. If you could see it you would only feel happy when it rains. If you could see the clouds hanging like half-ripe fruit you would feel your heart begin to sing: It’s raining again. At long last.

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14 thoughts on “It’s Raining Again

  1. well darling.. it has been raining for a month here and i am soooo over it… i wish i had your “poets” eye when it came to watching it rain… was i not up to my eyeballs in mud.. maybe i could see something poignant in it as well……

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  2. “No Buckets”? How impressive that the signmaker knew exactly what to prohibit.

    I love the line where you wonder if you slipped through the looking-glass … and the line where the boy insists, “It is my rain.”

    Well written, Selma!

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  3. You got mad observation skills, I am impressed. I am like that in public too. I would go to the library here in the U.S., but under the PATRIOT ACT the Dept. of Homeland Security can access lists of all the books I check out and look at the click-stream from my Internet use. I prefer to buy used books with cash, anonymize my IP at home, and speak only to people directly now.

    Toodles!

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  4. I enjoyed reading about the boy, his buckets and his enjoyment of the rain. Local libraries are such fascinating places – mine is a few blocks away and smaller than yours, in that there are only two computer terminals. Since they are located beside the reserved book shelf, I always get a kick out of seeing what people are searching for.

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  5. TRAVELRAT – it is still raining. I think my feet are becoming webbed.

    CRAFTY GREEN – it is a beautiful thing after a drought, that’s for sure!

    PAISLEY – I’m so sorry about the mud. It does put the rain in a slightly different perspective when you slip and slide everywhere. Hope it clears soon.

    DAVID – Glebe library for me. I do love libraries in the rain. The best is the Fisher Library at Sydney Uni. Looking out on the Main Quad is gorgeous!

    BONNIE – that little boy was not going to let anyone else get his rain. He was a cutie!

    JOHNNY – you always make me laugh. Glad you’re back. How was your break?

    ROSHAN – thank you so much!

    MELEAH – it seems to be pouring everywhere. Soon we’ll be desperate to see the sunshine.

    KATE – I enjoy having a peep too. I know I shouldn’t but it is such fun!

    POET – glad I could help. I don’t go to the library all that often but when I do something interesting usually happens.

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  6. Selma — I am working long hours on a project currently and I just have to say that coming home and reading all your wonderful posts every evening is a god-send. Your beautiful writing takes me right away from the long work day. I can’t thank you enough for sharing!!!

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  7. “No Buckets” will keep me smiling for a long time. I actually thought I’d posted a comment on this wonderful post, but it slipped past my brain. We’ve had more than our share of rain here in the Pacific Northwest, but you make it sound so wonderful, it’s hard to dislike it.

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