“You’ve lived here too long – you won’t melt… you know!”
Comment not made by myself but one made to my husband, the handsome Scot, by a friendly female visiting New York from Scotland trying to cajole him out of his gloom after describing the scene on looking out his office window tucked into the woods in Connecticut. One of ‘those’ discussions ensued – you know the one – the one that has no real end, lots and lots of middle bits that could potentially go one and on. The rain reminded me of the Scottish rain, how we Scots wouldn’t stop for a ‘wee bit o’ rain’. After all, if we did, we wouldn’t get anything done as it seems to rain all the time! And we certainly don’t melt! We just get on with it… So out we went… But yesterday was different…
The rain didn’t really remind me of Scottish rain. We were having heavy, relentless, pounding, soaking wet rain! The car park we were looking out on, after having braved said rain, quickly flooded, the drops all flowing together forming their own wee rivers trying to find a quick way out. The conversation had moved from the particular type of rain (I do believe we Scots have as many words to describe rain as Eskimos have to describe snow) to – do we run from the car to the restaurant – but won’t that make you more wet? Perhaps we walk as normal… The conversation meandered on, with other side bar mini conversations trying to break in as the rain eased for a few minutes, but always finding its way back – … we were daft to go out in this… but you won’t melt… you know!
Most of us Scots love talking about the weather, it provides us with a readymade conversation that you can pull out and use whenever you feel caught short and usually guarantees a wee smile and possibly even a laugh if you are lucky and the weather here in the northeast has not let me down. It will lull you into a state of calm where you nearly do forget about the weather, till speaking to a fellow Scot, who will dreamily say “Will you look at that blue sky… there’s no clouds…..” a phenomenon not well known in Scotland. Then with little warning, it turns into this ferocious lion with frightening speed. The storm that grew out of the heaviest of heavy rain yesterday generated thunder and lightning and crazy winds that brought a huge tree down across the driveway in the middle of the night with a resounding thud easily heard against the roar of the storm. Head under the duvet seemed a good plan to me.
On waking this morning all was still, too still, the power had been knocked out by the storm. The handsome Scot starts to work with the chainsaw. Rakes, brushes and many wheelbarrow dumps provided me with enough exercise for the week as gradually, limb by broken limb, the felled tree was removed.
So once again I think of Scotland, the predictability and strange peace that comes with the Scottish rain, the bleakness of the landscape and how it can still be beautiful and find myself smiling. Then I remember the gentle rain that often feels more like a mist enveloping you as it comes down and around you like a damp cloak, and as if on que, feel myself shiver.