Sunday, August 13, 2006

Rain and rainbows

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.

April's photo of a rainbow over the Greek Church and Bayou St. John in New Orleans

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.


GentillyGirl said...

Wonderful piece!

This is what a New Orleanian is: we understand, fear, and love our environment. Water is so much a part of that.

There's no other place I want to live in.

Zihuatanejo said...

You have a great website and it is great for the community. Nice format and real easy on the eye, easy to read! You should join the disscusions here as well: New Orleans community blog

Please join in the discussions there and link people back to your blog. There are already a lot of people participating daily. It is a great place to poll the communitie and see how people realy feel about the issues. This should serve to strengthen the new orleans community and NO online commlunity as a whole.

judyb said...

Excellent writing. And I love the rainbow picture.

Thank you. Your writing inspires me.

Schroeder said...

Beautiful rainbow photo. The Greeks should get to see this too.

BTW, you have a great website. You should join our discussions (but we'll never join yours). We're just gratuitously advertising ourselves in everyone else's discussions.

greg said...

god damn, you write pretty.

Sophmom said...

Beautiful post, Tim. Pretty picture, perfect words for such wonderful ideas.

Laurie said...

I love the way all of your posts always have at least a few silver lining items: rain on the trailer, rainbows, less traffic, empty lots.

it's me said...

I agree--I really love the way you paint with words--nice job---

mominem said...

Great post. We should exchange trailer visits.

Trudie said...

I think this is a wonderful thing you have written. So full of truth and honesty. I am from Dallas and it was a pleasure if I may say so to welcome you all into the state I call home. Come back and visit anytime. Just as one day I will come visit Louisiana...Thanks for brightening my day.

Dangle 24-7 said...

Off the subject but of great importance…..Clayton James Cubitt will be here over the next week making portraits of survivors for use in public service announcements highlighting the need to reach out for help when it all gets to be too much. Anyone who would like to participate, contact:

Anonymous said...

Tim, sorry to leave this info in a public forum, but I don't have an email address for you that seems to be working. I was checking my site stats, and noticed one from the US Army, which isn't abnormal. I checked to see their origin page (where they linked to us from) and it took me to your site stats for your blog. This page was not secure, and obviously someone in the army is checking up on who visits your blog.

Just wanted to let you know, keep your eyes open friend, and keep up the GREAT work you are doing here.

Please email me when you get a moment:

I'll send you the information on your visitor :)

-Nathan Morrison