The skies here in northern California are still a crazy shade of apricot, and sunlight has a reddish tinge, so I was moved to write a rain dance for California, a poem to the rains we desperately need. Once, in Hawaii, I learned an ancient hula dance said to bring rain. And the rains came, for three days! More than 20 fires are still burning, but rain is in the forecast for next week. I love the taste in the air after a first rain in fall, the metallic coolness and smell of the moist earth after summer’s scorch. Here’s my rain dance for California.
Rain Dancing Before the Wildfire
The sun was wearing its pink mask
and the sky carried the weight of smoke
on its muscular shoulders.
My neck went into spasms
that first wildfire day, but then
I thought I heard waves
of the Earth laughing, red sprites
rampaging like bright laundry
along the skies and ridges.
But faroff on the sea, another mirth
is rolling steadily toward us.
It tastes of salt and charcoal,
of kelp and blue skies
collapsing in tears.
The rain is calling us, doing its dance
to bring us nearer.
It’s surfing toward land.
We call as one calls for a lost cat.
It calls back in echoes of last year’s deluge.
And it will begin to come in,
probably during the night,
first a spray soft as the breath of your beloved,
and then a mist, that smells of the earth
at last breathing,
and finally droplets’ patter on windows
like drumming heard
from across the desert valley at night.
Calling to Indra
Indra, the Hindu god, is in charge of rain, thunder, and storms. This article gives a good overview of Indra’s province and powers. In case you want to do your own rain dance for California, this is a list of rain deities in traditions around the world.