Today it rains off and on, off and on. I can't believe that after all this good soaking we've gotten, we are still in a state of drought, but them's the rumors. Last week, I was driving my Little Sister home after a fun though messy bout of making chocolate chip cookies. She was a bit sleepy, lolling in the front seat of the car, then she asked, "Ali-Al, why do it stop and start like that?"
"What makes it stop raining and then start again?"
Scientific knowledge is not my strong suit. If she had asked, "Where did Sylvia Plath do her undergraduate work?" or "Which painters influenced Frank O'Hara?" or "What is enjambement?" then we would have been cooking with gas. Instead I resorted to what someone had told me when I was seven:
"The clouds are like paper bags full of water and when they bump into each other, the soggy bags break and the water falls down on us and that is rain."
She was not impressed by this, and rightly so, since C later told me it was inaccurate. "Maybe I should handle the meteorological inquiries," he suggested.
"Why do it start and then stop again?" she repeated until I had to say, honestly, "I don't know."
And there you have it: I don't know. Gerry asked me what I thought of the stimulus package, whether it will work or not. I don't know. Where will the good jobs be and will I get one? I don't know. Will Love Shack get taken by a small press soon, or will I be sending it to contests for the next eight years as I did with See How We Almost Fly? I don't know. How much money am I making this year now that my poetry in the schools work has mostly dried up? I don't know. What will I do for work in the next part of my life? I don't know.
I keep repeating to myself what Carla says in circumstances that are harder and more out-of-control than the economy: My positive attitude is unconditional. It does not hinge on specific outcomes, desired or not. It is intrinsic; it comes from within. That's the only way to go. All the rest is weather. It rains, it stops raining. It starts raining again. C says this has something to do with the winds blowing the clouds around. I don't know why.