BAY AREA STEW -
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BAY AREA STEW -
I walk out into a morning of slick streets.
The sky droops low with clouds and fog.
Mist brushes across my cheek
and filters through my mind.
I have a sudden, jolting thought,
I open my umbrella and start walking,
squinting, questioning, into the rain.
“What’s back?” I mutter.
Until now, I had no clue that anything was
The rain patters down on my umbrella.
Around me is a hazy mist,
a translucent grayness.
I stop, look around and think I know:
People define this city in terms of
precipitous hills, quaint Victorians, clanging cable cars,
sometimes in fog, often in sun--
but almost never in rain.
So, after years of drought and little rain,
it’s the milieu, the simple change in atmosphere
of a rainy day that’s back.
With this rain, the balance between
bright and shadow,
sun and shade
has been temporarily restored,
and this town has become, however fleetingly,
almost another world.
I turn around. Water sprays off my umbrella.
I realize what else the rain has done:
In this now-skewed world of rain and clouds,
there is a change in tone as well as ambience,
and the city, and I in it, have taken a ruminative,
more brooding turn.
The rain falls harder.
Eyes misting up, I peer into it
and imagine I see, intertwined with
slashing, sleeting raindrops,
but strangely real-seeming,
To my right, a clump of fog floats by.
Water splays out of it and
a poetic fragment bounces,
through the rain, aimed
straight at me.
I laugh, turn around and slosh my way back home.
Tossing the umbrella away,
I grab a pen, sit down and start to write:
what I’ve seen, what I feel,
what the rain has brought me.
The rain splatters, batters
all around my house. I keep writing.
If this is brooding, I won’t stop.
I’m a brooding soul, in a brooding city.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Vistas & Byways Review is the semiannual journal of fiction, nonfiction and poetry by members of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at San Francisco State University.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State University (OLLI at SF State) provides communal and material support to theVistas & Byways volunteer staff.