An Exercise in Praise of Rainy Days

It rained yesterday, and I love rainy days. They are best for sleeping in and reading a good book and sipping some hot cocoa as you while away a little more time under your warmest blanket.

However, rainy days get a bad rep because they are a nuisance when you want to enjoy time outdoors, they cast this feeling of doom and gloom as the sky darkens and those gray clouds hover over ominously. People seem to always like bright and shiny things and therefore sunnier days are always touted as the best days of the year. “Bring on all that glorious golden sunshine!” If only there were gold in sunshine, we’d all be rich on the sunniest of days. No, I’d take rainy days over the sunny-heat-blazing ones any day. That nostalgia that hangs in the air as you walk under an umbrella amidst the wet tips of green grass blades. That inhale and exhale of air that is both cool and soothing and gentle on your lungs and can only be described as “fresh”. Rainy days are an exhilaration; a chance at renewal. Now, I don’t mean to get all philosophical here, but they are in many ways a chance for births and life to spring forth. Sure, there is the biology behind all living beings needing some quantity of water with which to survive and thrive, but water pouring down from the sky also is a religious motif, the stuff of blessings and starting overs. Sure, when the rainfall is heavy, we are accident-prone in our vehicular contraptions, rushing around with fancy tires so as to stick a middle finger to Mother Nature and tell her that her droplets of water in abundance can’t slow us down.We fight the outpouring of condensation, but why fight it? Why rush through it? Why arm ourselves with umbrella and poncho and a myriad of other keep-the-rain-at-bay paraphernalia? Why not just step out into a dust of generous water and lift our faces to the sky? Why not feel the cool, and sometimes gentle drips on our lips, our eyelids, our cheeks? Why run through it from shelter to shelter? Why not embrace it? Let it soak our hair and then rush home and climb into another rain shower of a different temperature?

I remember when I taught in Finland, there was this one day of the year in about May when the sky opened up and poured with coveted grace all her moisture. She poured and poured on the brown earth with love all day. I remember I rode my bike into work that morning. A commute that took about 40 minutes if I pumped my legs to their maximum capacity with consistency. When my neighbour who had driven her 4X4 to our shared place of work, saw the torrent of water coming down on us when it was time to head back home, she offered me a ride. My bicycle would ride in the back of her truck, and I, would ride dry in the passenger seat of the warm and dry cabin, beside her. Her consideration was touching, but my feral love for the rain had been unleashed in me as a child, and I saw this as the perfect moment to reunite with Mother Nature. To embrace her “blessings” as they poured forth with wild abandon. I hopped on my bike and raced through the rain back home. Of course, I promptly lit a fire upon entering the warm hearth and hopped in for a hot shower, but that is besides the point. I relished those 30-40 minutes with the rain beating down on me. The steady and calming rhythm as if Mother Nature was whispering soft secrets to me. Secrets that I could not hear in warmer, sun-dried weather.

I grew up in a rain-prone country in South Asia so the “summers” were heavy with steady water falling passionately from the sky. And it was on these days that I would venture out with cousins or friends, partners in crime, as we biked through muddy and water-clogged paths.The rain spoke to me. It held me captive with its beauty and agility to come down heavy on humans and the land, but with a gentleness that left us feeling  blessed. Water ebbs and flows with spirituality, with calmness, with abundance and with life. So, rainy days, while they might prove a nuisance on the surface with their mud-sloshing, traffic-heaving side effects, are days to be enjoyed. Days we can embrace our spirituality and our naturalness. Days to bathe in with the rest of creation.

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