RAIN: A Story of Love & War
They’d been married once. Younger then, their lives had been a collage of rain dimpling a duck pond, wishing games in the high branches of the evergreens, intimate meals in the kitchen and nights that grew richer with familiarity.
Theirs was a strange, almost inarticulate love best captured in the mornings she’d fall asleep at her easel, exhausted over a night’s work, or the cold-coffee dawns he’d come home with a split lip and nothing to show for a week on the road with his combo.
“I like it.”
“You don’t think the trees are too green?”
“I’m glad you’re home.”
“How much do we owe the landlord?”
“I’m glad you’re home. The landlord will keep.”
There were, as well, those funny/sad times when the edge cut so deep it blunted itself on midnight cornflake conversations.
“What are you doing still up?”
“Couldn’t sleep. What’s your excuse?”
“I missed you. Go for a walk?”
“You look fine.”
And then they’d stroll the quiet streets, reaping a clear night star harvest, or stand alone on the levee, watching the moon play on the rolling glass river. Sometimes it was back to the all-night coffee shop, where they would sit across from each other without talking, or needing to. Theirs was the rule of no apology, and that gentle dictate blessed their lives for two years and a season.
Then time and an era caught up with them.
His best friend was killed in battle over Thanksgiving, and she sold two of her canvases, only to learn they’d been purchased for their frames. She began her rage at one end of town, he his at the other, and they met in the heat of it all at the coffee shop. She cursed him for something he said, and he slapped her. In a moment of absolute terror, they told each other they were sorry.
He came back 18 months later with a limp and a double row of campaign ribbons. They talked over coffee, and he whistled at the prices her paintings were bringing. She reached out to touch the gaunt planes of his cheeks. They dined together, then went walking.
Along dusty country lanes, they played in rainbow leaves, chased squirrels and waded in the Indian summer silt of bullfrog ponds. They renamed the trees and called the southbound geese by the colors of the palette. She memorized the gentle strength of his hands and heard the quiet joy of words a cordite-parched throat could barely speak. Loves was theirs once more — and for an emerald instant — time and an era left them in peace.
When he returned to stay, she met him at the airport and saw him through the final mile home. He never smiled or told her how glad he was to see her. She never mentioned how much she had missed him. When the final strains of epitaph faded into the eternal chill, she walked home and sat down on the living room couch.
Rain fell softly beyond her.
© 1990 Merritt Scott Miller
HEADLINE NEWS AT A GLANCE
OCEANA & POLYNESIA
CLIMATE CHANGE & THE WEATHER
FOSSIIL FUEL RESISTANCE
TERRIORISM, ESPIONAGE AND OTHER ILL WILL
THERE WILL NOT BE ANOTHER JESUS
I recently saw the film “Jackie” with Natalie Portman and the discussion between her character and that of these priest inspired these thoughts on my part.
There will not be another Jesus, Gandhi, John Lennon, JFK or Mother Theresa. No one will come to answer the questions, to take responsibility from other people on their own fragile shoulders. No one will be there suffering for others to save them.
Times have changed. We have all the answers now if we have the courage to accept them. Thanks to the Internet, anyone who really wants to find them can find them. It is neither honest nor realistic for anyone to expect the government, a neighbor or any public figure to solve all our problems or lead the way.
Because they once lived among us, all of them ~ Jesus, Gandhii, Mother Theresa, et al are a part of us. It is up to us, then, as individuals to be the provider of our own answers and to avoid the attempts of others to manipulate us by fear or intimidation.
It is time each of us was their own Jesus.
Stay warm, Mishka, my cousin. See you next week.
FROM THE SHORES OF THE SALISH SEA.
Hi again, folks:
While we’re digging ourselves out of one slammer of a snowstorm, the American Northeast is getting plowed under by another one. The dramatic weather ~ as inconvenient and in some cases as tragic as it has been ~ has also been a good diversion from other headline news.
California’s water table is slowly rising all over the state to pre-Big Drought levels and this time, people in Los Angeles have not taken this as tacit approval to start watering their driveways again. They are the only members of our entire species who believe that if you irrigate concrete long enough, it will grow. But then they also put stars with the names of Hollywood actors on the sidewalk so millions of people can walk on them. They are a strange breed, these Southern Californians.
As many of you know, there is a chatroom on America Online that I frequent as a virtual coffeehouse especially in winter when the trips to the Starbucks 15 minutes from here by bus is too cold, windy or wet to make.
What I appreciate about this chatroom and others like it is that despite the relative anonymity, real personalities do emerge and sincere human commerce is conducted. And nowhere in Seattle could I talk to as many as 35 people from all over the country or the world? One of the people in that chatroom asked me where all the humanity in the world had gone.
I told her that I found a lot of it out there. I pointed out, however, that unless one believed it still existed and sincerely wanted to find it, it would probably remain elusive for the same reason that happy people are not generally found in the company of miserable people. I did not post specific sites on the Internet but I’m gong to share several with you folks now. And from there, you can make more connections if necessary. Otherwise, strap yourself in because you’re going to love these.
Have a great week, gang, and thanks for the ear. Rusty Miller
OUR SCIENCE SECTION, ABRIDGED
Considering the Manhattan Project, I think this is a good thing and one we should encourage. In Age of Trump, Scientists Show Signs of a Political Pulse
How many of these did you know they invented? Russia’s 12 Top Inventions That Changed The World
Here’s something I hope we never need to find out. What If The Internet Stopped For A Day?
THE GREEN BEAT
BEST OF THE NET
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
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ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
This will absolutely bring good tears to your eyes. Ecuadorian Police Officer Responds To Life Or Death Threat.
This is nothing short of awesome. For Ice-Loving Narwhals, A Melting Arctic Presents Worrying Challenges
Ye, another tear-jerker. A Gorilla Who Was Reintroduced Into The Wild Years Ago Is Reunited With A Conservationist
FOLKS WE FOLLOW
YOU GUYS THINK WE MAKE THIS STUFF UP
Rusty Miller and Olya Bereza, editors. I’m an author, editor, writer and photojournalist in Seattle, Washington. Olya, who was born in the Soviet Union, now lives in Ukraine and is fluent in English, Russian and Ukrainian. She is a degreed psychologist with a background in international marketing and personnel management.
The weekly magazine she and I write and publish now reaches 22 nations. As demographically diverse as they are, our readers share a sincere and extremely proactive desire to help make our world a better place. We are both proud and honored to be a resource for them in that regard.
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