It never rains in California anymore. If it does rain, as soon as you start to get comfortable- the rain stops. In my closet I have a rain coat, umbrellas and rain shoes that have not been worn or used in over two years. California is in the midst of a drought. I no longer take showers that last more than five minutes, which means that I no longer masturbate in the shower. For months now, I have been waiting for rain like one who awaits the homecoming of a long gone lover. It is the end of October, the winter chill has settled in but still the rain is absent from the fall scenery. There is still the summer sound of crickets outside. My soul is starting to ache in certain spots- because of this absence of rain.
One thing that I have never enjoyed about growing up in California is the absence of seasons. The weather never changes drastically but rather it comfortably slides through the seasons without anyone really noticing that winter, spring, summer or fall has just passed. I have noticed a slight fragrant change in the air as summer becomes fall or winter becomes spring- but this is the extent of it. I do not really need to buy new clothes to help me through the winter nor do I need to buy anything to get me through the heat of summer. The weather is pretty consistent around here and the only drastic change that a person needs to make with the seasons is buying loads of flee repellent in the summers. I often wonder if this lack of seasons has contributed to my inability to deal with the pressures of the world. I assume that living through real seasons make a person stronger…. so I attribute my lack of ambition to the lack of seasons.
The other day…I missed the rain so much that I decided to do something about it. When it rains I am at peace. I am like a child in the womb fully content with being in the moment. I will spend hours at a time not worrying about the futile stressors of my world while sitting in front of a window-watching the rain come down. Walking in the rain is one of the few mystical experiences that I can have without needing the intervention of an intoxicating substance. Rain for me is like having a lot of money, it makes me feel like everything is all right. I attribute my heightened states of anxiety not to the dwindling economy, global warming, the unjust war in Iraq or my health concerns but rather to a lack of rain. So I decided to make a concerted effort to become ambitious enough to visit a local medicine man who lives in a small apartment down the street from me.
I met Malidoma many years ago when I took a workshop on African Healing. It was coincidence that we lived in the same neighborhood so we maintained a small friendship over the years. Whenever I have health concerns or ontological questions I consult with him. His apartment is like a large shrine that decorates every wall. Malidoma has converted his one bedroom apartment in the middle of the city into an African tribal hut. Once in side you are transported in time and space. I went to Malidoma, the other day, to see if he could teach me a way to bring forth rain. He looked and me with his dark tar eyes and told me with an African accent- that I should burn sage, stretch out my arms and twirl around in as many circles as I could stand while repeating the word rain. When I was finished twirling around I should spit into the sky and allow the spit to land on my head. He laughed a bit as he told me this but he promised- “it always works.”
So for the past few days I have been doing this. I do it whenever I have a free moment. I stretch my arms out, twirl around in a circle and repeat RAIN – and then I spit into the sky. The only problem is that I have difficulty getting the spit to land on my head. When I told Malidoma about this he said “get all your students together and do it- then it will rain.”
So I did. Today with my high school English class I got all of my students to come outside. I told them about my practice and they all laughed. They called me “weird” and a “freak.” But I figured if I could get all 42 students to do this together, at least one was destined to get the spit to land on their heads. So after five minutes of persuading them we all began to twirl around under a warm fall blue sky and repeat the word RAIN. As I was twirling I could hear the kids laughter. I thought about being a kid myself. I thought about the few times I had played in the rain when I was younger. I remembered playing with my father in the rain. RAIN, RAIN, RAIN- we all repeated. I opened my dizzied eyes for a moment and noticed that we all looked liked whirling dervishes And then when I could take no more I yelled “ NOW STOP AND SPIT INTO THE SKY!!” At the same time we all spit into the sky. It was as if it was perfectly choreographed. There was laughter and lots of “eeewwws, that is disgusting!!!”- as the spit began to come down from the sky and land on our heads, but for a very brief second…. I could swear that it was raining in California.