His mother remembered the day it came down, when the rain had been falling for several days and the adobe hillside gave way, the house sliding into the street below with a great crash which at first she mistook for a peal of thunder. Nobody was home at the time. Bulldozers came and pushed the wreckage from the street as the gray rain continued to soak the still dangerous hillside. It was several years later when I first knew the place. On soft spring afternoons we would sit on outcrops of concrete which had once supported the house, and listen to the breeze in the stand of fir trees which had been planted in the side yard by the owners. It was a very peaceful spot.
I would sometimes have dreams about the vanished house, and see it sliding down the hill, though I had no idea what it looked like in reality. In the dreams, it was always some other house. When there were long rainstorms and the water would rush through our yard, I sometimes found it difficult to sleep because of the thoughts of the house which had slid down the hill, only a few hundred feet away. Though our yard was gently sloped and terraced, it abutted at the back an abandoned clay quarry, and the steep ivy-grown slope was held in place only by the roots of that ivy and the huge eucalyptus trees. I would dream that our house was sliding down that cliff, my room splintering to kindling around me, and I would wake with a start only to hear the rain falling and the house still.
I hadn't thought of any of this for years. It must have been the sound of soft rain which brought it back tonight. It is a sound which can seep into the subconscious and cause the greater part of a life to slide away, exposing ancient layers of experience. I'm glad that the house I live in now is not closer to the canyon. The rain does not profoundly disturb the ground here, and I can sleep easily, supported by layers of ancient and comforting rock.