27 June 2021

The weather and Brian Doyle

The weather arrived at a quarter to three as I was reclining on the couch reading Brian Doyle’s excellent collection of Brian Doyle essays, Reading In Bed, with the new electric heated throw wrapped over my body from the waist down and my upper body encased in my best largest puffiest down jacket (the Mont Bell) so if anything had been watching I must have looked like a giant grub or chrysalis, but nothing sentient enough to make that comparison was around to watch so I was safe from those kinds of uncomplimentary judgements. But boy, that weather wasn’t holding back. The rain pounded down so hard it sounded like hail, and darkness moved over the face of the land so if I hadn’t been reading on my Kindle I’d have muttered, ‘God, let there be light’ respectfully like a prayer not blasphemously, and would have had to metamorphose into adult form, crawling out of my electric heated throw cocoon to get to a light switch. Fortunately, I had plenty of charge left in the Kindle and I’d adjusted the brightness and font size so I could ignore the rain and keep reading, which is all anyone reading Brian Doyle essays or books or anything else by Brian Doyle ever wants to do. By the time I finished the book the rain had given up trying to discombobulate me or stimulate a premature metamorphosis and had settled into a quieter sulking steady rhythm that I took to be respect for Brian Doyle’s writing, and when I finally closed the cover on the Kindle I noticed the rain had stopped. So it should.

It came back later for another attempt but I was impervious and laughed at it and enjoyed the sound of its tantrum on the roof, and again it exhausted itself and gave up. In the battle of the weather versus Brian Doyle and me, we won by a loooong way. At least for the moment, though, because the weather has now called up a vicious bitterly cold violent hissy fit from the deep Southern Ocean and if the forecasters are to be believed, that evil blast should get here tomorrow night. I’m prepared, though: I have plenty of charge still left in the Kindle and Haruki Murakami’s latest collection of short stories, First Person Singular, to read. I just have to resist the temptation to read it all tonight, which might be a problem because his books are soooo good, which makes me wonder: how can two writers so different in style as Brian Doyle and Haruki Murakami be so wonderful and weather-resistant?

Photo: Evening rain moving up the valley earlier this year

Photos and original text © 2021 Pete McGregor