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Original Essays

Did You Feel That?

by Miriam Toews
 
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The other day I was driving north out of town with a friend of mine from Germany, and she asked me if this building on the side of the highway was a rain museum. Actually, she didn't say "rain museum," she said something else, but I heard "rain museum" and since then I've been a little obsessed with the idea of opening one up.

I've been wondering what a rain museum would need. I think I'd like to jam it full of poetry and music and art that somehow deals with or addresses the subject of rain, however obliquely. But I'd also like it to have a bit of the history of rain, too. And how rain affects our psyches. And the way rain can destroy lives or save them. I'd like to plaster the walls with little written anecdotes having to do with rain. How it changed someone's life in a second, or created a misunderstanding between friends for more than 20 years, or resulted in some amazing romance. Things like that.

I like conversations people have about rain.

"Did you feel that?"

"What?"

"That."

"No."

"You didn't?"

"No."

"There, I felt it again."

"Oh, wait, yeah, I did, too."

"Should we move?"

"I don't know."

Maybe there could be some interactive stuff where people experience different types of rain: gentle, cleansing, driving, catastrophic... and maybe a very dry and hot, desert-like area where people would just sit and wait for rain that never came.

I asked my daughter what she thought about the idea of a rain museum. She thought it was, basically, stupid.

That did give me pause, but a lot of ideas that seem stupid in the beginning sometimes, as they grow, begin to sound less stupid. Or even if it remains forever a stupid idea, who cares? I like it.

I like the idea of going to work every day, at my rain museum, and trying to understand why someone would want to visit it. What type of person would go to a rain museum? Maybe there are some rain museums out there, already. I don't know. What would be the best location for one? Morocco? Aberdeen?

There are a lot of things I still have to research. My dream of a rain museum may never become a reality, but I love to talk about it. spacer

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