When my parents came to visit my in Busan, there was a moment on the subway with them when I felt my identity as a Schnabel more forcefully than perhaps ever before. As the subway doors closed, my dad nodded his head back and forth, precisely to the beat of the three perky warning tones the subway always plays when the doors close. Unconsciously, he was making exactly the same motions I had been making ever since my first Busan subway ride—even the scant music in the beats compelling me to nod along automatically.
We are indeed a musical family, but, contrary to what people might think considering our family’s string quartet, we actually talk about other things than music quite a lot. A favorite topic is athletics. After finishing morning workouts, we give each other play-by-plays while dad turns on the Tour de France and mom and I ice ankles and rehydrate. Right now it’s Joe Paterno this and seriously, our U.S. Men’s soccer team didn’t make the Olympics? that and, as we watch cyclists churn up a hill to the strains of commentators remarking on Lance Armstrong’s constant doping charges, mom asking, “What do you think is the. most. boring. sport to watch on TV.? My parents will even graciously (and occasionally and with comprehension) listen to me rhapsodize about the Spanish national team (seriously: did we all watch that performance in the Euro final? Dominance).
We’re also very focused on weather, for some reason. I know that sounds banal, and it sort of is—as if we’re a family with nothing to talk about. I’d rather blame it on dad’s farming background and our position in the weather-wise mercurial Midwest.
That was my attempt at making this blog post interesting, because I really just wanted to talk about weather, and no one besides my family (and Indiana farmers—shout out!) seem to find it as innately fascinating as we do. So: for all of you on different continents or, Hilary, in the supposed desert of AZ which actually has gotten more rain than us in the past month, we in the Midwest have been having a bit of a dry spell. The grass is brown as dirt this summer and the crops are having a bit of trouble.
But today in the mid-afternoon, the clouds began to muster in the southwest, all dark and grumbly. We’ve been waiting far too long and there wasn’t nearly enough, but at last: rain. When it came, I indulged in a brief deluge dance, gymnastic exhibition, and did some juggling (soccer, not clown) before Gracie, the prissy beagle, begged me back under the porch’s awning. And here we now sit, the rain long-since passed, but the cloud pattern still beautiful.
What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,
to water a land where no man lives
a desert with no one in it,
to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and to make it sprout with grass.
Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?
From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens,
when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?