January 16, 2015

It Rains Here. A Lot.

When we arrived here a year ago, it rained part or all of every day for 60 days. We knew not a soul, both our kids were frequently sick with gastro, ear infections, conjunctivitis, or fever, and we had no knowledge of what to do with two kids under 4 when it rains. It was a trying two months. 

This winter is shaping up to be more of the same. Oftentimes, in a cruel tease, a pink sunrise and a fiery orange sunset will serve as brief parentheses for an otherwise wet day. Burgundians say that the typical winter here is cold but bright, usually with some snow. Now that we are in mid-January, however, I am becoming increasingly skeptical of these claims, especially because it was 60 degrees on Tuesday. 

Regardless, we've come a long way. We have memorized the hours at three different libraries and no longer curse when we arrive to find them exceptionnellement fermées. My wife discovered a ludothèque, a sort of toy-brary, where the children can run and romp among a sea of games, puzzles, and, thank heavens, trains. Grandparents have furnished us with buckets of Legos. While a rainy day is far from a welcome sight, it is no longer a surprise, and we manage our way through the day with relative ease.

Throughout, we have Charolais cattle, those who provide the region's beef, as our steady witnesses to the moisture. The photo above shows the view from the boys' bedroom. Each morning, I hold the baby in my arms and say, "It looks like some of your friends are there! Do you want to say hello?" And he will scream "Moooo!" at these hulking beasts. The cows tend not to return the greeting. The more it rains, the closer they huddle together, trying to get a snitch off an ever-dwindling bail of hay. During a stretch of dry, clear weather, these animals are beautiful white jewels on the Burgundy landscape, dotting green pastures like gigantic cotton balls. When it rains, they turn to mud. Slop covers their hindquarters, their faces, their underbellies, and, as you can see, their shins. 

If self-doubt and existential bewilderment are the emotions dominating my day, their melancholy lowing rattles the windows, a universal cry of misery and confusion. But if optimism and excitement have thwarted those negative thoughts, I confess that their sounds make me think just one thing:

Better you than me, guys.

No comments:

Post a Comment