Earlier this week it rained.
In California, we have nearly forgotten what rain is like--its stealthy seeping, or its splashy suddenness. We, by which I mean everyone but me, are an outdoor people, a tribe of hiking, camping cyclists, so we don't mind so much when it's sunny for months and months. Well, except for the overpowering odor of urban urine. And the fact that everything's dying. That part isn't so great. Maybe we should take some beer to the park and talk about it. Bring the volleyball.
Typically when it rains, students react with dismay. Dismay with some considerable volume, which is how I know. In fairness, California teenagers are not, shall we say, overburdened with outerwear. If you have nothing more than a sweatshirt, an off campus lunch destination, and soccer practice, you are going to get wet. Imminent dampness is not terrifically appealing. I get it. Personally, I would like to experience all rain from the vantage point of a large armchair next to a large window. The dry side of that large window, please.
This week, though, the reaction from the students in the hall was not the usual collective groan, so much as a collective gasp of astonishment that unexpectedly bloomed into joy. I stepped into the hall (I have no window in my office. Ditto, armchair.) and found students clustered around the glass doors, staring astonished at water clattering to the street in sheets. I joined them, beaming, as a few kids burst their way past us to stand, arms wide, smiling faces upturned, in the full tumult of the downpour.
By the time work was over, the rain had stopped, but the whole neighborhood smelled of clean cement and trees. New and green.