Josna Rege

78. October Rains

In Inter/Transnational, Stories on October 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

At last the long-awaited rains have come, first the traffic-stopping, roof-leaking, storm-drain-flooding downpours and now the steady soaking the plants desperately need before winter. I love this weather and all that it evokes: awakening in Darjeeling to the chill of misty mornings; walking to school on the Hijli campus, Kharagpur, launching paper boats on the torrents raging in the roadside ditches; rambling over Hampstead Heath along paths strewn with elfin-capped acorns and glossy horse-chestnuts bursting from their spiky, velvet-lined casings.

What about here, now? Here in New England these rainy fall days recall  mushrooming in the woods of Winchendon, canning the last of the summer’s harvest, listening to the weather radio for warnings of the killing frost. I see Maureen and me, heavily pregnant, climbing the long-neglected pear trees on Orchard Hill, Amherst, to make organic pear sauce, the first food for our yet-to-be-born babies. I see Nikhil making apple-and-pear cider with his Dad, and layers of leaves upon wet, glistening  leaves, yellow, bronze, and brown; hear the scurryings of small creatures hastening to gather food and find shelter for the coming winter; feel the old ache in the small of my back.

A time of leave-taking, this—or rather, of the anticipation of leave-taking—as gathering swallows twitter in the skies. Looking out at the slanting rain, eyes half-focused on the middle distance, I hear the whispers of long-forgotten things hastily pushed out of sight to clear the deck for business; still there. As leaf-clogged gutters drip, a jewel half-buried along the leaf-mold path behind the waterfall resurfaces, awaiting the return of my attention.

Is this a story?  The story?

Tell Me Another

  1. I do like this Jo

  2. Is is a story or “the” story? I felt the same about your lyric musings “…things hastily pushed out of sight to clear the deck for business; still there…” And answered yes, out loud to your question ‘Is it “the” story?’ Whatever it is, your words resonate.

    • Thank you, Norah. I guess remembering and forgetting have been on my mind a lot these past few years. I hadn’t intended to write this story and didn’t know where it was going: it just rose up through the mists and out of the autumn leaves. What an endless scramble life can be; most of the time it runs away with me. John Prine’s lyric says it beautifully (if depressively): The years just flow by/Like a broken-down dam. x J

  3. Good writing I think. Creates (in me at least) a strangely unfocussed nostalgia for times long gone. Love U.Ted

  4. Dear Uncle Ted, thank you for your response. I don’t mean only to evoke nostalgia in the sense of pangs for times long past, though of course those were there too (Doris Lessing calls nostalgia “that poisoned itch”, which sounds rather nasty); the pangs were for things not so much lost, but still there, things neglected in trhe rush and tear of life, still waiting to be picked up and attended to. Love, Jo

  5. Tell me another…you stir memories and unearth blooms. With Darj, you did it again; Holiday bungalow with wooden floors, roaring fire and plaid-checked wool blankets overlooking tea gardens and the kanchenjungha. Tea ceremony with trays, silver pot, tea cosy and strainer on the balcony in cane verandah furniture. The maalis in the garden preparing soil for the season of best bloom, Winter!

    Austin Fall – slanted sunshine, blossoms in the backyard with the second flowering season in these parts, and bright-eyed bushy-tailed squirrels sitting bolt upright with fat acorns in their paws with that alert look of perpetual astonishment. Harvest moon. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…..’long-forgotten things hastily pushed out of sight’…:)

    • This is beautiful, Urmi—thank you. I can imagine you with the plaid wool blankets tucked around your knees. And the harvest moon shining on Texas has its own romance. (BTW, If you want another—and another, and another—about Darj. check out Hidden Places, Study Halls and Cinchona, and Himalaya. Another schoolmate, Karl Hagen, gave me permission to include some of his photos as well.)

  6. I like the mystery in this. The photos with no subject. The jewel, only alluded to. Can’t wait to come home. Love.

  7. This is lovely, Josna. Remembrance of past and present, of what we loved to do and of what we, carelessly or deliberately, leave undone and attempt to hide. Thank you.

  8. This piece did take me back to rainy days and early fall while in the now I’m sitting at my desk looking out the window at another rainy fall day in Atlanta.

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