The weather here in New Orleans has settled into its customary summertime routine: muggy hot in the morning, showers around noon, blistering hot and humid in the afternoon, warm and sticky all night.
A visitor from Texas commented to me the other day, "My, but it sure is humid today."
That's the way we like it here. Makes the air easier to chew and swallow.
After the rain on Saturday, my Precious Daughter and I went for a bike ride around the neighborhood. It was an odd thing to do, taking a jolly jaunt through the flood damaged part of town where we live in our FEMA travel trailer.
The streets are still half filled with sand and dirt that washed in with the flooding waters. Bits of glass litter the roadway in sad reflection of the shattered lives of our fellow New Orleanians. House after house stands empty and haunted behind rising walls of weeds and unkempt lawns. Here and there a deserted, mud stained car still waits for the tow truck to take it to the crusher.
We pedaled merrily up and down several streets, my girl telling me she likes to be able to ride in the street now that there's no traffic to worry about. We both delight at the occasional vacant lot we encounter, the most hopeful sign of progress in our neighborhood in my opinion.
As we approached the north breach of the London Avenue Canal, I looked up to the grey washed sky to see a wonderful sight--a rainbow, arcing halfway across the watery sky. I joke with my Precious Daughter that it looks like it's right over Meemaw's house in Slidell. "If we go there now," I say, "We'll find the pot of gold in her yard." She's been my daughter for 10 years so she is all too familiar with my silly stories.
Later, my Vista Park neighbor April posted this photo to our message group. She writes, "I saw something beautiful today and was lucky enough to have my camera in the car :)" This may have been the same rainbow I saw.
Early Sunday morning, I was the first to rise in our shoebox home. As I started to prepare breakfast, a brief shower swept over the neighborhood. The patter of raindrops on the tin-can exterior of the FEMA trailer is one of the minor pleasures we enjoy here.
My daughter, still half asleep, rolled over and asked, "Papa, are you making popcorn?"
No, sweetheart, it's just the rain.
It's just nature reminding us once again that water is integral to life here in south Louisiana. If you live here, you live on or near the water. You depend on water for life and profit and pleasure, and you fear it when it turns on you, comes in higher than expected, or falls faster than planned.
Those of us living in New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina are ever aware of water's ubiquitous influence. We feel it, hear it and see it every minute of the day: in the humid air, in the gentle patter of rain, and in the beauty of a rainbow.