When You've Left Your Heart in the Portland Rain

The seasons can get a little confusing here in El Salvador. We're quite a ways north of the equator, so it's summer right now. But it's also rainy season, which keeps temperatures about 10 degrees cooler than during the dry season. For this reason, Salvadorans sometimes call rainy season winter, even though it's actually summer. 

What Central America rain seems like. (Multnomah Falls, Oregon; July 2016)

Rainy season is usually quite nice. Most days dawn more or less clear, with blue skies persisting until afternoon thunderstorms form and drop daily downpours. The last couple of days though have been unusually dreary. Clouds and rain without thunder. And it was over the past couple of days that I realized I've become accustomed to El Salvador, because rain without thunder or lightning strikes me as abnormal.

I've grown comfortable with the sound of tropical thunderstorms. They dump water with little warning. Tink... tink tink... tinktinktinkplunkplunkbangbangBANGBANGBANGWHOOSH! Impatient, aggressive, fleeting rain. It rushes from a black, angry sky, exhausts itself, then breaks into fluffy ribbons lit by the reemergent sun.

But the last couple days here have reminded me of the sounds of western Oregon rain, where I grew up with the sound of drizzle outside. Tink... tink tink tink... plunk... tink... Calm, easy, lingering rain. It sort of materialized on the ground from a formless, grey, low sky, without beginning and without end. The sound of car tires splashing through rain puddles, the smell of wet leaves and pavement, street light reflections off wet streets. 

What Central American rain is actually like. Not quite waterfall intensity, but still a lot of water. (Apaneca, El Salvador; June 2016)

Over our last few dreary, rainy days, it's been nice to have a brief reminder of Portland weather, even if it was 35 degrees warmer here than it ever was during Portland's dreary winter drizzle. I still miss it sometimes. M. Ward put it best: "Every town is all the same when you've left your heart in the Portland rain."