I’m watching rain, to the degree I watch anything as I’m legally blind and rain is not immediately apparent so much as it’s a degree, a palpable abstraction. In fact rain is for me much like the faces of friends or strangers. I can’t see your expressions my friends, my enemies, my policeman, my good samaritan. Your features are like the weather—by turns dry, notional, endlessly mysterious, cold or wet.
Years ago on a street in Helsinki I met an old man who accosted me—upbraided me—for having said “I see…” —perhaps the most common locution in American English. I’d been talking to my pal Tim about something rather ordinary when I saiid it. Poof! The man appeared beside us. It was startling. One second we were alone on Runeberginkatu, the next there stood a man so old Tim later told me his skin was almost transparent. He was terribly thin and dressed in a black suit and he was shaking with urgency. “Why do you say you see?” he said.
Then he admonished us: “you don’t see! You understand!”
He was the genius of pavement; he was not of our world. He vanished right before us.
And we’d both seen him.
He was the weather I cannot see. The trees I can’t observe. The faces I’ll not know until some other life.
Yes I’m an animist.
It’s raining in the near. Old men and women are pointing their fingers. Get your words right.