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Life is repetitive, and I like it that way. I sleep. But when I sit down to write, I think I've written that already (the strand of tinsel in the birch tree) and probably several times. Is it because I spend so much time with my nose in a book? My news is the book I'm reading...

So here I am, nose in a computer, books strewn round me on the spare bed, to my left a window, with a broken venetian blind (don't try to raise the blind we tell visitors), looking out past two birch trees and the carport roof and beyond that an oleander hedge, a street and a row of student houses. What most interests me is the rain falling into the puddles that collect where the flat roof sags. I like the random--well, they look random to me, but who knows?--circles the drops make in the puddles. It's one of those mesmerizing experiences, like wave-watching or fireplace-watching. Sometimes bubbles pop up on the surface of the puddle and float there  till a raindrop punctures them. I like the chains of droplets on the twiggy branches of the birch trees.

What I like most is the sound rain makes falling onto /into things. I heard the rain before I opened my eyes this morning. To make sure I wasn't dreaming--it's been weeks since any rain fell--I listened for the swish of tires.

Rain is soothing, but not if it goes on for weeks, the way it does in British Columbia where I grew up. There it can drizzle for days, weeks, months, years, twenty-two years. The sky is featureless grey. I couldn't wait to get away from it, first to Ghana for a two-year teaching stint where, when it rained it was a tropical downpour and then it stopped and we all came out and played tennis with the headmaster as usual at the end of the afternoon. The headmaster was very dapper in his tennis whites. It was a teacher training college. Every now and then during class hours someone would yell "snake!" somewhere in the grounds and then everyone rushed outside with machetes.

After Ghana I went to New York, then Montreal, where when it rained it snowed. Then Marseille where at last my hair stopped frizzing. Bliss.

Now I find I like rain, in small doses. I like clouds too. Plain blue gets monotonous.