Living where I have lived, I am very much accustomed to rain. I watch the rain sometimes, observe it truly. When I’m alone and quiet, it sends shivers of awe and comfort down my arms and across my back. Sitting here at my desk, I want to crawl out of the window and dissolve. I ache to feel the rain. Not to stand in it, but to be of it. To be gloom and understand that it is in fact life. To be grey and know that it is the heart of color. To be chill and damp and yet fiery and alive. To move through the world, to caress it, as the rain does–sometimes with fury, sometimes with the greatest gentleness. I imagine myself falling from ineffable heights, a small voice in a vast chorus, plunging through the air to land with delicate but insistent force. I can feel myself soaking into the earth, giving of myself to the trees, and somehow, miraculously, returning to those same dizzying heights to begin the journey afresh.
I enjoy reading with all the lights out, all the more when there is a faint drizzle outside. During the day, the sky provides ample illumination and I suppose it saves some meager amount of energy. Something magical happens to books when read in slowly gathering dark, as though the visual passage of time also makes other unseen things visible. The overcast sky casts a gentle darkness as much as gentle light, creating the lengthening but diffuse shadows of afternoon approaching evening. In this, the living nature of the grey is most apparent: that it gestures and beckons, encouraging a rising certainty that dreams are echoes of the real world, only wanting a little belief to make them substantial. Something about the half-light, or more accurately quarter-light by this time, kindles my heart to a fever pitch, stoking a desire of no particular aim other than expressing an achingly intense longing for more. More from my life, more of this mysterious grey, more of the stunningly immortal thrill of the raindrop’s descent.
When I finally give in and tug on the chain of my banker’s lamp, its greenish glow seems to indicate that the source of its light is more spiritual than electrical. Contrary to trope, though, its illumination is not a light of hope or truth; it simply sees and in the seeing knows. Unfortunately, the darkness outside seems to know too, so I’m left trying to reach backward toward the grey in hopes that it will teach me. Once grey, I’m nearly certain, then I’ll know too and I’ll leave this nebulous Almost behind. Somehow, the grey will illuminate more than a clear blue ever could. But for now, the grey is gone, the sun has set, the rain has been reduced to a dull murmur on the roof, and I’m sitting here in my little pool of light hoping for another grey and rainy day tomorrow. I’m gripped by the fear that wanting more is selfish and insatiable. I see my face reflected in the window but turn away without making eye contact.