An umbrella in cactus land

Umbrella shielding cactus.

Umbrella shielding cactus.

A few days ago, while ambling along my usual route around Colonnade Mall, it began to rain.  No big deal.  The weatherman predicted it.  The unusual thing is that it stayed and stayed.  Even more unusual was that I purchased an umbrella for the first time ever.

At first, the manager at Old Navy couldn’t find one.  Then, after a brief search, she discovered a small collection tucked away on a shelf.  It certainly wasn’t the featured product you would find in a Nordstrom’s in Seattle.

“After all,” I said trying to reassure the manager, “this is Arizona isn’t it?”  A question that is now up for grabs.

Rain fell that night and into the next day. Then yesterday and again today.  Four days, one and a quarter inches. As I write the rain gauge riseth as doth the water in the basement.  This is impressive for an arid land that receives about 8 inches for the entire year.  Noah would be impressed.  Is that hammers pounding on freshly-sawn wood?  I don’t want to miss the ark.  When I board there will likely be a red and black plaid umbrella with me, grasped as tightly as can be.

I have a terse history with the umbrella.  Usually I share one.  But never buy.  Until, worried some, this week.  Some of the bright colors fascinate me and at the same time its construction frazzles my nerves.  After the purchase at Old Navy, I stood outside in the darkest corner of the mall, hoping stranger-eyes would not notice how much I struggled to open my new, bright acquisition.  The strap was pretty easy.  Velcro.  But stretching it out, that was something else.

Free use of umbrellas at the Masq Hotel.

Free use of umbrellas at the Masq Hotel.

The last time I remember fiddling to open an umbrella was in France, in September.  Nebra and I were in rainy, windy La Rochelle, a port city on the Atlantic.  The weather turned blustery on the 14th, rain driving into us like nails.  Our downtown hotel, The Masq, was more than prepared.  In the lobby by the front desk was a container of orange umbrellas, free use by guests.  You did not need a weatherman in La Rochelle to explain the climate there.

Nebra keeps an umbrella or two about the house and at her office.  I suspect they are mostly used for shade from the piercing summer sun.  And she keeps losing them.  One of her recent posts outlined the communal spirit of owning an umbrella:  “I’ve heard it said that there is really only one umbrella and we just keep misplacing it, so the next guy picks it up, etc etc.”

Anyway our wet weather is to continue.  Another series of El Nino storms is due, I hear, sweeping in from the Pacific.

My last experience with incessant rain came during a stint in the military many years ago near Tacoma and Seattle.  It rained almost everyday until summer.  And I got used to it, even got to the point of liking it.  All that without ever owning an umbrella.

Now it is here, the Seattle rain in Cactus Land, weather only a seahawk coud love.

As for opening my umbrella, well, Nebra is usually around somewhere.



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