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The Wide Gray Forgiving Rain

As if a switch was flipped, the incredible string of seemingly endless sunny days we’ve been having here in Oregon abruptly ended, and today the rains came. For some people this is an occasion for sadness; the gray and wet bring them down. Not me. Although I appreciate summer as much as anyone, I tend not to mourn its passing. True, the rock climbing season is over, backpacking, too. And mountain biking from here on out will be cold and wet at times. But snow will soon be flying in the Cascades — skiing! — and my breath will come in visible puffs when out for a trail run in nearby Mac Forest. Besides, many good things happen indoors, like writing. No doubt about it, I’m get more of that done when it’s blustery outside. The turn of seasons suits me fine.

Every autumn on this first rainy day, I take one of my favorite poems off the bulletin board and give it a close read, or three. Here it is for you, by the great Oregon poet, William Stafford:

Whatever Comes

In the fall, rain of the happy tears returns with its big step over
the mountains. Gray sweeps here again, draping trees and
buildings. Air floats up the cellar stairs with its fresh face
turned toward the open.

The new season means it’s all right — time is: sure, those evil
things happened in your life, but they’re over. Here comes the 
rain to forgive, wide as outdoors and so welcoming it doesn’t 

care whether it knows you.

I’m laughing at the person I was: who cares how serious my
face looks? Now — on the mayor’s hat, on the poor woman at
the corner, all over fashionable people — comes the wide gray
forgiving rain.