Pluviosity (2018)

String quartet and mezzo-soprano
Lyrics by Katie Bohnlein
Duration: 12:00
Premiere by Laura Beckel Thoresen and Delgani String Quartet at (Dis)connect
March 3, 2018

Katie Boehnlein’s evocative text places the listener right in the middle of a lush, green, wet Pacific Northwest ecosystem. From a quiet gray morning to the thrill of a city commute to the abundant green in a forest or backyard, she captures the experience of being a small part of the larger, wild and fresh environment, something humans don’t always take the time to notice in the midst of daily life. Written during a period of national disconnection and discontent, the simply beautiful and quietly peaceful text spoke clearly and directly to the connections and experiences we all share in this world. The music is full of the sounds of a rain-filled forest and city, drops of water, splashes, and rivulets and full of simple pleasures and the inimacy of grey days. You can see more of Boehnlein’s work at her website.

I. Patter
As the patter of rain persists into June, it seeps into our being like a slithering snake through the brush.
In the fog of half-sleep, we become aware of its presence:
the sound of droplets hitting wood, the sound of ripples in puddles outside our window.
We turn over in bed, the sink of pillow and mattress all-enveloping,
the weight of a down comforter keeping us warm and dry, a retreat into sleep.

II. Roar
We rise, and stumble into the half-light of morning.
The world outside is sodden and grey, a reminder of the winter days not so long ago.
Faces in hands, no sign of blue, we watch rain falling in silken streams against the window, hitting the glass on its way down.
Warm tea in thick mugs protects our insides against the coming damp, liquid cascading down our throats like a tepid waterfall.
And as the door opens, a roar of wetness hits us, pelting our faces with droplets,
wetting our shoes in stomping puddles, splashing our bike tires as they whir and sing.
Memories of sun seem far away
as we live in this wet box of a city.

III. Awaiting Green
Rain is all around us, flattening leaves, soaking the earth, leaving our bones cold but our spirits revived.
The freshness of the air, the smell of damp earth both remind us of life and growth.
We must endure, enjoy, be enthralled
by the wetness of winter, its Pacific pluviosity,
before we’re granted the permanent sun and blue.
Green growth and grandeur will soon return,
all because of the glistening droplets of water on leaves
and the plip plop plap of the rain,
its droplets welcomed by the awaiting green.

Text used by permission. ©Katie Bohnlein.