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When I think of the farmers and other midwestern US dwellers, and how they must look up at the drippy, grey sky and curse it for raining down on them, their lands, their homes, their businesses and their lives, I feel a little guilty for looking out at the spitty, cold, rainy day here in Santiago and wishing it would clear up.

And then I start thinking about the weather. How the glint of a pinkish sunset can change your outlook, how the sound of rain at night can make you hunker down deeper into your bed, or run out and check on the chickens, seeing if the new roof is holding up on the coop. Because it’s not just the weather. It’s the weather plus you. Your unique feelings about the hot, the dry, the dust, the rain, the weather du jour.

And how strange that hoy en día (nowadays) with a quick drive over the mountains or out of the holler we can get out of the rain, away from the tornadoes, into the sunshine or into a cool valley. We know where the better weather is, and we can get to it.

This in the morning from a cold and wet region metropolitana (Santiago) as my mother and I wait for the pickup to bring us to the airport, whereupon we will be whisked into the air, hurtled (gently, we hope) through the stratosphere and landed pum whrrr onto the runway in Calama, a short drive from the Chilean access point to the driest desert in the world. As we think about the rain and how it ruins all our raindeer games, here in Santiago the people up in San Pedro de Atacama probably think of rain like an unexpected guest, a long-forgotten birthday with lucuma-flavored cake and a favorite grandmother who made the trip just for them. Because it’s all a matter of perspective.