I wish I lived in England. For many reasons, though strangely enough, one of the predominant attractions is the abundance of rain. I love rain. I love all kinds of rain. There’s a sort of rumour that the Scots language has over twenty words for rain. I haven’t found any proof of this, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
Rain has many associations and connotations. It’s synonymous with despair in some books, and equally as synonymous with beauty and romance in as many others. How many climatic self-disclosure scenes in the movies take place during a summer shower? And why should that be? What is it about rain that makes it equally suitable for melancholic self-reflection or abuse, and also tender emotions of adoration? I cannot say, but I do know that for the average person, feelings are mixed about precipitation. Some people abhor it, seeing it as an unlucky spat of nature that impedes plans and dampens the spirits. (Pun intended.) Others, myself included, view it as a glorious occurrence, for various reasons. I personally find sensory delights in it. I like to smell it, hear it outside, feel it on my hands, see the billowing veil of it coming down.
I think it has a lot to do with where one lives. I can’t say for the average Englishman, but I suppose, having to deal with it on such a constant basis, he might not be so inclined to feel romantic attachment to it.
I, on the other hand, living in the South States where rain is heralded with glee and surprise, being such a rarity, have that exact sort of attachment.
I especially love when it rains, but is also sunny. Living in such a dichotomous world brings to mind the state of dreams between waking and sleeping, and that creative realm when one’s mind is tired but energetic.
The frothy conjectures and ideas I have when pondering rain are always the murkiest, strangest, most glorious and salubrious.
It also betokens some glorious British slang. I earnestly wish America would adopt these words, so I wouldn’t be thought odd if I used them.
Brolly – umbrella
Welly(ies) – ‘Wellingtons’; rubber rain boots
Imagine the pure linguistic delight it would give to say, “Grab your brolly, Molly; looks mighty squally out thar.” Or, “Wellies? Well they’re parked by the porch, aren’t they?”
I secretly dream of using such phraseology.
And also, I love this passage about rain from Douglas Adams’ “So Long and Thanks For All the Fish.”
It was just the rain which got him down, always the rain.
It was raining now, just for a change.
It was a particular type of rain he particularly disliked, particularly when he was driving. He had a number for it. It was rain type 17.
He had read somewhere that the Eskimos had over two hundred different words for snow, without which their conversation would probably have got very monotonous. So they would distinguish between thin snow and thick snow, light snow and heavy snow, sludgy snow, brittle snow, snow that came in flurries, snow that came in drifts, snow that came in on the bottom of your neighbour’s boots all over your nice clean igloo floor, the snows of winter, the snows of spring, the snows you remember from your childhood that were so much better than any of your modern snow, fine snow, feathery snow, hill snow, valley snow, snow that falls in the morning, snow that falls at night, snow that falls all of a sudden just when you were going out fishing, and snow that despite all your efforts to train them, the huskies have p–d on.
Rob McKenna had two hundred and thirty-one different types of rain entered in his little book, and he didn’t like any of them…
Since he had left Denmark the previous afternoon, he had been through types 33 (light pricking drizzle which made the roads slippery), 39 ( heavy spotting), 47 to 51 (vertical light drizzle through to sharply slanting light to moderate drizzle freshening), 87 and 88 (two finely distinguished varieties of vertical torrential downpour), 100 (post-downpour squalling, cold), all the seastorm types between 192 and 213 at once, 123, 124, 126, 127 (mild and intermediate cold gusting, regular and syncopated cab-drumming), 11 (breezy droplets), and now his least favourite of all, 17.
Rain type 17 was a dirty blatter battering against his windscreen so hard that it didn’t make much odds whether he had his wipers on or off…
And as he drove on, the rain clouds dragged down the sky after him for, though he did not know it, Rob McKenna was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him and water him.
It brings me joy.