Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On the move, they move.

Dry spell.
"Aren't there ways to travel besides buses?" Mali groaned, pausing from her vicious chewing fit on her fingernails only long enough to study the the damage. Outside, the ruddy terrain of northern Arizona drifted by, immense and unchanging and bleached by the sun. She watched for coyotes but saw only minivans on the highway opposite the median.

"We could get a horse," Gordon replied, counting the troupe's treasury again. "Get real cowboy-like. What do you suppose a good pair of spurs go for these days?"

"I don't think I want to be a cowboy," Mali lamented, gnawing on her fingertips.

Casey shifted uneasily and thumbed through the stack of notebooks on her lap. On her third nervous strum, her thumb caught a loose page the wrong way and a thin cut appeared in stark white against her flesh. She winced and brought her thumb to her mouth, suckling the papercut and eying the paper with contempt. "I can't stand the desert," she muttered eventually.

"Why's that?" Joe asked, propping himself on the back of the seat in front of her, contorting his body around the sleeping pile of Parker to face Casey.

Casey shrugged. "It never rains here."

"That's not true, actually!" Mali chimed in. She produced her mobile device from her pocket and her fingers flew across its keys. A few chirps later, she smiled and showed the screen to her comrades. "The average rainfall in Sedona was 1.9 inches last month. So, see? It does rain in the desert."

"That ain't rain," Casey said, shaking her head.

Why are rainy days so much cozier than sunny days? 

Is it the roof of wrinkling darkness that crawls miles above our heads, making even the rainslicked outdoors feel like in-? 

Is it the humidity in the air that clings to our bodies and our clothes that makes us cling to each other? 

Seems like a good summer downpour will ruin just about anyone's day, but not mine. I like it when it rains. My auntie, who lives up in Oregon, has this cottage near the Pacific. Some summers, I'd spend part of my break with her and her kids. We'd play in the ocean and go shopping at the farmer's market in the village. My auntie would bake us oatmeal cookies and sometimes let us have slumber parties in the living room, or at least until our giggling and hollering woke her up and she'd make us go back to our rooms. But my favorite memories are sitting on her porch, wrapped in a blanket with all my cousins, and watching the skies just plain empty.

She used to tell me that the rain was when the whole world needed a good, strong bath; that people were being unfair or unkind to one another, using bad language or throwing mud, and this was just God's way of reminding everyone to clean up their act.

Makes me wonder how these desert-dwellers ever remember to clean up their act if God won't even provide them a shower once in a while.

Casey seemed to snap out of it and returned her gaze to Joe. They shared a look before breaking into a mutual smile. Casey, embarrassed, looked away out the window.

"You're in luck," Joe said.

"Why's that?" Casey asked.

Joe showed her the die she wasn't aware had been rolled. Three little dots smiled back at her.

No comments: