Ballad of the Oil Refineries That Glitter Mysteriously in The Distance / by laurel

Rain here is rare. When there are so many days marching row after row, and every day looks the same as the last—cloudless, 75 degrees, sun—is rain less of an anomaly and more of a phenomenon? I realize that to many people rain is rain; no inherent profundities to be extrapolated there.

So rain is just rain. But even in its lack of bravado, I hear music every time the sky clouds over and releases its burden—and the stuff just falls, hellbent for the ground, straight out of the ether! Rain, like Time (capital T), and so many other Things I Don’t Understand (again, all caps): it’s the physical embodiment of so many thoughts. It rushes, unfurls, froths and spits—a maelstrom, taking me with it.

As I drove home tonight, skirting the edge of America’s folkloric West Coast, with its serene, waveless shore munching on thousands of reflected lights, I thought,

Do our hearts search for something they can never find?

A friend of mine recently was a hop, skip and a jump away from ‘The Other Side,’ and now he claims to know how to love. Or at least has gained a clearer understanding of what love is. Or maybe that’s just my foolish interpretation of what he was really trying to say while everyone was congratulating him for ‘making it.’ But it was there, barely audible, barely a whisper: “Tonight, I want what all the other lovers want—sweet dreams, and the chance to fall deeper in love. My heart is getting harder, I think.”

And I think he could be right; it’s what we all want. But sometimes I find myself staring hard into the long, plaintive gaze of the City of Angels, backlit by a neon whorl of sun, a city forever reaching out and grasping at the fringes so as not to be left behind—and I hope desperately that my heart never gets hard.

I hope that rain is always exciting. I hope that I don’t become the never ending 75-degree beacon of unconcerned sameness.

Most of all, I hope to never flirt with the saccharine nuances of a country singer or a movie filmed in soft focus that asks the really tough questions with the un-ironic naïveté of a girl who likes to bake a lot. I fear I’ve tread those waters tonight, and so I’ll take one for the team and stop while I’m ahead.

Maybe, at the end of the day, rain is just rain.