Listening to the rain


For me few things encourage thoughts of the past more than sitting in a room alone, as the sound of rain patters on the roof. Some of the memories that come to me when those sounds of the rain are just right are of the little attic room in the old house where I lived on the corner of Fifth and Emmitt, as a boy. I am sure that old house had very little in the way of insulation, which meant the patter of the rain hitting the roof, ranged from a soft tick tick tick, to a loud roar, depending on how hard rain was falling. There was nothing in the room in the way of furniture, which meant it was a perfect place for my train set, and some cars and trucks. I could spend hours on end there all by myself just me, my imagination, and the sound of that rain. I still remember the smell of that dusty attic room. It did not get the sweeping and mopping the rest of the house did, since it was unused except as a playroom; so there was always the smell of dry dust. That smell mingled with the fresh smell of falling rain, and gave the room an aroma, which I recognized again years later in a dusty hay barn, during a summer rain.  Sometimes rain could pull me outside to play, especially when the ditches ran full, inviting me to sail makeshift boats down their rolling waves, but sometime I just liked sitting in that attic room alone, with the sounds of the rain. Like most little boys I did not need more than my imagination to turn that room into everything from a stretch of railroad tracks, that reached the horizon, or a field of grass populated by buffalo and Indians. The rain sounds on the roof were my sound effects, and my imagination could turn them into those buffalo hoof beats, the clack clack clack of a fast moving train, or anything else that fit the game I was playing at the time. I also liked to sit in that room on a rainy day with a stack of comic books around me. I could lose myself for hours in the pages of superman, or one of my other super heroes. As I said there was no furniture, so I would sit on the empty floor, backed up to a wall next to a window, reading by the dim light filtered through the rain streaking its glass.There were times when my sister would beat me to the room on a rainy day, and I would have to make the choice, of playing dolls, or some other girlie thing with her and her friends, or pestering them until they left, something that only worked if mom wasn’t home. I think I have mentioned before that I was something of a brat back then. Most memories that come to my mind involve friends, and family, but sometime when I am alone in my writing room, just me and the sounds of the falling rain, my memory gets selfish, and it’s just about me.