by Kevin Carrel Footer

In La Boca, the river has shed its customary brown livery and turned gray. You would think that a river would remain one color, not change like a chameleon, but you would be wrong. The Rio de la Plata is a shape-shifter, writhing and cavorting before your eyes.

On land, the forgotten streets glimmer under a shiny coating of water, as if varnished. Quonset-roofed warehouses line up along the canal promising bustle but deliver only shuttered facades. A bicycle splutters down the wharf, its rider hunched forward into the rain as if ducking fire. Leftover ships that will never set sail remind us that here the past is present.

In between the staggered downpours, the river is immobile, as if anchored. It’s untarnished surface reflects trees and water towers in a perfect simulacrum of the upper world — albeit upside down. Further above, a fog spreads out over the world like cotton batting, muffling stridency, leaving only the feathered sounds of something coming from very far away.

I wander on foot and in thoughts through this scene. I feel invincible in my sturdy boots and rain jacket and hat. I have always found inordinate joy in walking through the rain, as if it were a forbidden pleasure or a death-defying feat. I may enjoy a sunny day as much as anyone else — but I grow positively ecstatic in the rain. (The only days I don’t enjoy are the ones that shift thoughtlessly between rain and sun; I find the juxtaposition of the two states emotionally jarring.)

I pride myself on being stoic about the weather and not falling into the too-easy habit of cringing at the rain. But it is not stoicism at all: I just love a good storm.