Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Some of my most powerful formative reading experiences took place deep inside the Peanuts arcana. It is hard to know what strange influence that had on my ending up living here in the land of Peanuts, the Twin Cities. But while many things I was fond of at age eight have faded away to nearly undetectable wisps, nothing has diminished that cartoon in my heart. I even walk in that world of Peanuts. It touches everything here: the dark, roughly sketched bare trees, the piled remains of dead leaves, and the sidewalks and stoops of the neighborhoods I walk through.
Today I suited up for my almost four mile walk. I was in great layers of waterproof clothes, or, at least, clothes willing to try and be waterproof. It was 34 degrees out and pouring rain. I stepped from my house reluctantly, the water drove down in loose slashes of pen and ink, and I walked. I sighed. I sighed greatly. I have never felt more Charlie Brownier in my life.
In the strip we would get four panels of rain. I got an hour and fifteen minutes. It looked just like the cartoon. The rain today did a beautiful job of capturing Schulz's drawings of rain.
There's a raft of great Peanuts strips about rain. Just that image of the characters walking along in a drenching downpour is beautiful on its own. In one strip Charlie Brown is walking with Linus. Charlie Brown says "The rain falls on the just and the unjust." Linus ponders for a frame of rain, and then he comments "That's a good system!"
But I like better the one where Snoopy, sitting with Woodstock in the rain, says "Don't complain about the rain... we need rain. Without rain nothing would grow and we'd have nothing to drink. So never complain about the rain."
And then, as it rains harder, a miserable Snoopy adds "Whimper, but don't complain."
Yeah, now he's got it.
The wind blew and rain lashed at my face. At some point the rain drops started to hurt my exposed face, like small, stinging insects. I only realized when I was coming close to my destination that it wasn't raindrops that were hurting, but rather that the driving rain had turned to bits of ice.
Maybe somewhere there was someone more just than I whom the ice avoided. I would not begrudge them. Whimper.