When Rain Disagrees

Frick Park

Pittsburgh

October 2019

Am I prepared for the rain?  After decades of hiking in every kind of weather condition (except earthquake,) am I ready for the rain?  With all my experience on the trail, what kind of question is that.  Why wouldn’t I be ready!  Of course I’m ready for the rain.

Except for today.  I am wearing a cotton T-shirt and shorts.  I’m not even close to being ready for the rain.  But here I am, on the trail, not ready for the rain.

Often in the woods, rain and wind sound just like one another.  Small raindrops slapping leaves is the same audio experience as leaves jostling and bumping into each other in the wind.

It’s not long before I hear this approaching sound, and soon enough, even under the forest canopy, I am getting wet.  Must be rain.  Duh.  This is more than just wind.  The sound grows louder, I get wetter.  Yah, rain.

I’m in the park, a mile from home.  Getting caught in the rain is just that:  caught, no escape.  Yah, I’m wet, but it’s not that unpleasant.  So I walk.  As if there were buses on the park trails.  Of course I walk.

I reach the edge of the wooded area, where the trail opens up into a little meadow.  And here is where the rain disagrees.

Leaving the cover of the sixty foot tall forest and stepping into the open area, the sound diminishes.  No rustling leaves, no sound of rain pattering the tree tops.  Intuitively, when it quiets, it must mean the rain is letting up.

But that is entirely a delusion.  Not only has the rain not decreased but it gets even heavier.  The sounds diminish because there is nothing overhead, no protective cover, nothing for the rain to fall upon to make noise.  I’m getting the full force of the rain.

I was wet before.  Now I am squelchy drenched.  Cats and dogs.  How did I get caught out here?  I must still be wet behind the ears.

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