Living In Vancouver
now its raining. I know, I know
Its Vancouver; it
always rains, right? Well, yes, it does rain, and the rain features
in the work of a lot of Vancouver writers, but this is different. This
isnt the passive-aggressive drizzle thats been haunting
our fair city 200+ days a year since time began. This is pure aggression,
a driving downpour from the heart of a black cloud, which comes on suddenly
and turns the street in front of my house into the northernmost arm
of the Fraser.
When it used to rain like this in Regina it was called a gully-washer.
When it does it here I like to think of it as the Self-Clean Cycle.
After a couple of hot days the urine buildup on the sidewalk gets to
be a little too much, sparks begin to fill the air, and Natures
full passion spends itself on washing away any and all transgressions.
When it rains like this, it does so hard enough to rinse the dust from
the leaves, wipe away all traces of pigeon shit, and even scare the
rats back into their holes, if only for a half an hour. It is, on balance,
a beautiful thing to behold. In fact, I cant help myself but leave
my writing for a moment to watch it rain from the protected front step
of my house.
Because it doesnt happen every day, a rainstorm like this gives
you reason to pause, to marvel at the singular phenomenon that makes
Vancouver so beautiful. Getting caught in one is the first initiation
youll get as a Vancouverite, and running out into one on purpose
is a sure sign youll never be anything else. So after the rain
has slowed, and as Im toweling off, Im still marveling at
something thats experienced all over the world and yet embraced,
culturally, here like no place else. Fortunately, living here, I am
not at a loss for words to describe it, though I am careful not to drip
all over the very expensive keyboard when I do.
Already the sun is coming out. The black cloud, the one that had me
running around and turning on lights in the house at noon, is gone without
a trace. The yellow flowers on the tree outside my window have never
looked yellower, and the birdsong that suddenly fills the air has never
sounded so joyous. The rain takes a lot of flak from Hollywood visitors
and tourism agonistes alike, as well as suffering the apathy of the
man on the street, but I love it. When it rains, whenever it rains,
I am instantly reminded why it is that I live here. Today I was re-baptised
in the best West Coast fashion, and now that its over I am thrilled
to have had the privilege.
© Michael Sean Morris June 2003
Michael is a Vancouver writer with a novel in progress
all rights reserved