This week's "Take This Tune" is September In The Rain featuring Dinah Washington. We are about to enter on my favorite time of the year. Maybe it was growing up with almost constant sunshine, but the time of the year when the heat of summer started to give way to cooler temperatures some time in October and then waiting for the first of the November rains has always been very special.
Now rain in a desert is different than rain almost anywhere else. Los Angeles is a desert. Don't let the imported water and those irrigated lawns fool you. It is a desert. The rain isn't some gentle mist or drizzle. It is pound the sidewalks and bounce up to soak your knees downpour. It comes in waves from slashing at your face to blinding car wash gushers and then it's gone until the next wave crashes. Trying to drive is follow the tail lights in front of you and hope they have good reaction time.
As a good thing, it settles the dust, cleans the air, puts out the last of the summer fires, and cools off a chain of 100 plus temperature days. As too much of a good thing, it brings down hillsides and houses, tumbles boulders off mountains, and creates jobs for road builders for months to come once it stops raining.
Despite all the problems of rain, I always love the fog and rain part of the year and the places it could take you. There is always a song playing in my head to the point that I finally wrote a short poem about it:
Falls says down
crushed into earth
leaves of Autumn
mulch sacrifice to spring
Foot falls, damp lamps of twilight
wash sidewalks wet with fog
Old songs filter smoky air
thick with might have been.
Low moaning of horns and
the whining clarinet
cry for a place at the end of the bar
And a lonely woman in black
Gravity wins, Look back
Take hold of a year almost done.
It surprised me many years later to find a painter had created an image to go with the picture in my brain when that was written. Jack Vettriano is a Scottish artist who paints some of the most enigmatic and sensual paintings where the relationships between the men and women leave whole novels to your imagination. This one is Cocktails and Broken Hearts.
So when I hear September In The Rain it brings back a poem, a painting, a person and a place to be for Rainy Days and Mondays.