Upon a Rainy Night

It's been dry in Northern California - pleasant enough, with only a slight chill, but no rain to speak of. Until today, or, more specifically, tonight.

Tonight, the rains came, first in little misty waves, then teasing droplets, and then, finally, actual, genuine, real rain. The sound is trance inducing; rain tapping on the windows, dripping from the trees, falling in puddles of the rain's own making, splashing about freely. Only the rain can play in itself without concern for getting wet, and it's playing well tonight, with reckless abandon.

My mom, I'm sure, would tell me not to go out without my Wellies and slicker. Fortunately, mom lives quite a few miles away, and is, no doubt, sound asleep, so I'm free to do as I please. Hah!

The sound of the rain always reminds me of the innocent days of children. When I was small, I'd go out hunting for salamanders and other crawly things. You could turn over any stone, any piece of fallen wood or bark, and find a whole universe of creatures, celebrating the moist earth, the life giving water, coming to the surface to explore, safe, for a few months, from Sol's scorching rays.

It's dark, it's late, but out I went, to splash about a bit in a puddle or two with my dogs, to smell the beautifully clean smells, intermingled with the wonderful scents of freshly soaked concrete and asphalt. I love that smell. The darkness was cover enough to protect me from the neighbors' gazes. They've pretty much already determined that I must be mad, but this scene would surely result in a call to the men in white coats. I splashed silently. The dogs, though, were less concerned. Lucky dogs. (Living with three delightful canines has taught me well the genesis of that expression!)

Back in, me and dogs dried off, a nice cup of tea in hand, it was time for a pipe. When I was at the Sacramento show in October, I picked up a beautiful little Ashton; a brindle stemmed, sandblast Canadian with a lot of charm and amazing wood. The pipe called me to it that day, and it called me to it this night. But, what weed to smoke? Something about this weather almost commands me to fill the air with thick blue-gray clouds of Latakia smoke, and who am I to argue against the voices of nature?

A few weeks ago, I opened an old tin of Balkan Sobraine 759, the "Luxury Blend" in the black and gold tin. Luxury. Rich, dark, opulent luxury. What better choice for a rainy night?

I was captivated by the smoke almost to the point where there is only a vague recollection. Some things just run away beyond the grasp of description. Or is it that sometimes word and thought can defeat experience? It's better to leave some things comfortably nestled in the realms of the mysterious. I know it was a grand smoke. Luxury. Rich, dark, opulent luxury on a beautiful, rainy night. Are more words needed?

The pipe is out, cleaned and put away, the scent of luxury lingering in the air. Smoky memories and the hypnotic rhythms of the falling rain will lull me into slumber tonight, where I'll dream about splashing in puddles and discovering salamanders and squiggly bug-life under every stone, and not caring about getting wet.