Meditation on a rainy day

Rain makes me snarly.

I hold up both hands and confess that bad weather brings me down, and I am all too good at letting those negative feelings dictate my behaviour and my mood. Which means I need to practice more, because I feel wonderful in the sunshine, and frankly, I am a delight to know then…but I am that same person, filled with *twinklysparklyhappygoodness* and I need to figure out how to be the nicer version of me whatever the weather.

So this is a story of mind over matter; taking inspiration from others; using thankfulness in a mindful way, and a triumph (albeit a small one).

Let me tell you…Snarly rain

It was one of the days I was working over on the Island, in a small, seaside town with faded Victorian grandeur peeping past the jostling elbows of tourist shops filled with beach toys and postcards. I was tucked away in a doctor’s surgery car park with my mobile clinic, and although the gentle, refracted light told me that I was almost within smelling-distance, the sea was out of sight. I was walled in by tall, tiled roofs and the backs of other people’s houses.

The crows had been listless all day, flopping through the muggy air like old, windblown umbrellas; restive, irritable and squawking their displeasure as their shadows full of pinfeathers swooped and fought across the baking tarmac. It was as if they knew what was coming, and were arguing about the ‘when’, for as I left at the end of the day, and finally caught sight of the ocean, it was deep grey, with a bruised, purple sky and clouds building thrones on the horizon, ready to turn the heavens into Zeus’ playground.

I put my foot down and hightailed it outta there, coaxing the great, diesel van across the backbone of the Island as fast as I dared, trying to keep the clouds behind me and hoping that the boat home wouldn’t be cancelled. I rushed back into the hospital and tried my best to follow the adage “more haste, less speed”, my frantic movements causing more problems than they solved as I tried to get organised, get the files transferred and get out. Too slow. The gathered skies drew in, cloaking the earth in that unnatural dark until it seemed as though all creation held its breath, waiting for the spark, and with a rush of chill wind, the electric scent of dust and earth and life and rain filled the hospital, and like pebbles hurled by small children, one, two, and then in bursts of crazed staccato, the clouds unleashed their firstfruits against the windowpanes and the storm began with fat, angry drops.

Finally leaving, the corridors weren’t long enough, and all too soon I found myself at one of the warren’s exits, looking out on a car park painted in watercolour blurs; every line smudged and dripping. I peered up into the sky, hoping for answers, as though Zeus himself would lean down and whisper the secret in my ear, but no – the clouds were in earnest, with no break showing through. I could wait ten minutes and still get just as drenched…and I had a bus to catch. So I settled the Hat of Consternation on my head, steeled myself and walked out into the driving damp, finding it still petrichor-scented.

The grey sky was falling and running down the edges of the world, onto the ground, which was running in all directions under my feet – slick with wet and always seeking the lowest point. I followed small streams downhill towards the road, where cars were leaving soapy, grimy tracks behind, and scum was forming over drains. I ran, seeing the bus through the gloom, and with moments to spare, levered myself into a seat next to an old, damp man, who I could tell, would rather I wasn’t there.

He fidgeted and fussed as along the road, with breath-fogged windows and the scent of wet clothes, we bussed and all wished that the next stop were ours. Finally, the ferry terminal was reached, and the sodden remainder disgorged, ready to wait again, for the next ride. Which was fine, because boats are wet anyway, and the sea wasn’t rough. The lines through the waterlogged window of the ferry were even less distinct than on land, the grey sky and grey sea and grey pouring from every angle wandering down my pane as I sunk deeper into gloom and contemplated the cycle ride which awaited me to get home. Ferry to port. Bus to bike. Bike to home, and dry…

Frustration squeezed my mind – I should have known the one day I had an epic journey, to bring the damn car, because even though ten minutes’ cycle isn’t really very far, in the rain it might as well be a million squirmy miles of intense discomfort.

No hat this time, either, for the head must have a helmet (I’ve already been knocked off once, and landed on the helmet, and even for the sake of rain in my eyes I refuse to entertain the possibility of my own demise through sheer stubbornness of not wearing one) and so tucked, steeled and blinking my displeasure as I begin to wet through, I went.

The bicycle bucked and rolled and jolted through puddle-hidden dips. Wobbling, I clung on, shoulders soaked and arms fluffed out like dewdropped dandelions in the unseasonal cold. Shivering and running with drops, Zeus saw fit to reach down and poke my sides with my own wet clothes, laughing as I squirmed in discomfort, jibing as the cold found its mark in the few warm bits which remained on my peripheries.

Yet once into the park, it was quiet and still, the shushing of the raindrops on a thousand leaves like a lullaby atop the runnelled, damp-striped bark. The stillness was almost palpable, as though Nature was basking and stretching herself under the cool shower, letting it seep into every pore – taking greedy, quenching gulps with water pouring from the corners of her mouth as she slaked her summer thirst. All around me, the rain-laced air gave the greens a chance at popping with contrast, and even the moss and khaki tones were bounding out in the visual spectrum and gambolling in the lack of blues and yellows. The grass and trees looked so vibrant they could sing, and so few people were about (all having decided it more sensible to stay indoors, no doubt) that the tiny, rustling noises of creatures in hedgerows and the insistent, warning cry as the blackbird (“Get back, get back! The storm is here – cha-aack!”) called his family home.

In spite of the downpour, as I rode, I found myself wafting through pockets of scented air, where trees or flowers had taken advantage to overflow and leave their scent there, swirling with the silvery rain. Gradually the sky began to lighten and the downpour became less violent, leaving in its wake a gentle, refreshing, insistent rain, which allowed some lines of distinction to return to the world as it peeped through the warming air, all fresh and sparkling, as though it had just come back from the launderette.

Then and there I decided that I would find things to like – the silence, the scent, the lack of people, the soothing sound on leaves and the ground as each drop spent itself in swansong rhythm, and the vibrancy of all those thousands of greens, piling up in a dancing celebration of rain and summer and life…

…and when I arrived home, soaked to the skin and with everything damp and needing washed…I wasn’t snarly.

Rainly Not So Bad

Post Script: In fact, I was SO not-snarly that I excitedly told Beth (my BlogWife – you remember her?) who purports to love the rain, about my experience, proudly announcing that I’d remembered her affection for the damp-and-drizzly, and that I’d tried my best to borrow some of that attitude. At which point she told me “Well, I love rain…I don’t like being in rain…”

*le sigh*

 

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68 thoughts on “Meditation on a rainy day

  1. I don’t mind the rain, in fact, somehow I feel invincible when I am in it… Well, you know, it’s kinda surprising I don’t melt πŸ™‚ But then I start getting cold. And I hate getting cold and wet. So I guess, I really don’t like the rain after all….. *sigh* I should really grow up. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful, my dear…at first i was wondering why does she hate the rain so much but then I understood it .. I would too if I was stuck in it with just my bike…but even as i read it I loved how you described it all; my favorite:

    The grey sky was falling and running down the edges of the world

    brilliant, beautiful

    i loved how in the end you gave in; looked and saw the beauty!

    i look forward to rainy day sometimes, less pressure sometimes, yet i enjoy rainy days when it is convenient to me….have a wonderful week and weekend!

    See you at TTOT

    πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmmm no. Never the rain. Never my favourite. Even without being stuck with just my bike, and half blinded by raindrops on my glasses – it’s the cold and drippiness I hate – the feel of it on my hands just upsets me!

      BUT YES. Mind over matter and I CAN FIND BEAUTY. I WILL MAKE IT ALRIGHT.

      It became a challenge at that point; me vs the rain, and I NEVER (well, rarely) refuse a challenge.

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  3. ***I decided that I would find things to like – the silence, the scent, the lack of people, the soothing sound on leaves and the ground as each drop spent itself in swansong rhythm, and the vibrancy of all those thousands of greens***

    Stunning, brilliant, descriptive writing! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Okay – so apparently we both had rain on the brain yesterday πŸ™‚ Glad this ended with happy feelings. I agree re: the smell of rain – mmmm. But I’m with your blog wife on staying dry πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t mind rain, because it’s so infrequent here people celebrate in the streets during a light misting. What I DO hate is the rain-on-glasses situation. And I’m sure I’d hate the rain more if I lived somewhere more wet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rain-on-glasses makes me very cross and snappish and apt to growl at anyone trying to talk to me. It’s very sweet that people celebrate it ins the streets. One of the best ‘rain after drought’ pieces I’ve read was in Madhur Jaffrey’s autobiography ‘Climbing the Mango Trees’, and she describes the monsoon after the dry season, and the electric smell of petrichor, and of everyone rushing out to get soaked, shouting and praising because the rains came, and of the romance of the rainy season, and the snacks – syrupy jalebees dunked in cold milk and….oh I need to read it again SOON! It’s wonderful…

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  6. You did a great job of capturing the different feels of rain–from the soggy, torrential downpour to the gentle, invigorating mist. I grew up in a very rainy climate, but living in the desert now, I find myself missing the precipitation. I’m glad you were able to find joy in the weather. I need to follow your example and find joy in triple-digit temperatures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhhh I WOULD FIND SO MUCH JOY IN THOSE! The baking heat and the shimmering of everything as the blues and yellows fill the world with hot-scented everything, and…ohhh yes!

      Hey, if you ever want to swap – we should figure out a way of swapping weather sometimes.

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  7. I admit that rain makes me snarly, too. I often say (thanks to the late John Denver) sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Rain on my shoulders makes me frown, but your ride sounds lovely actually, and you tell such a colorful story that it was as though I sat on the back of your seat with my arms wrapped around your damp waist holding on as we splashed through the rain until the park welcomed us into her sodden arms, and I too found solace there. But in all truth, I’d really rather watch it rain than feel it rain. And only occasionally. Because…sunshine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhh then you are my kindred spirit, Mandi, and I’m glad to know that, because I was beginning to feel that what with Beth and Deanna and SO MANY OTHERS all loving the rain, that there wasn’t going to be someone who felt as strongly about sunshine as I did.

      The ride was alright – I was busy trying to take it all in, to focus on all my senses and absorb the sights, sounds and smells of the rain and the effect it had on the world around me, so I almost didn’t notice (at times) just how very wet and cold I was.

      But I’m so glad you enjoyed the colourful writing, and that you found peace and solace in my park. (That said, if you had truly been there, I would have been incredibly tempted to tip us both off into a puddle, given that there was really not much wetter it was possible to get, at that stage, so that we could whoop and holler and run in circles in defiance of the rain, not letting it stop us have fun, even if it was a bit splashy and muddy).

      But yes. Always sunshine. Which is perfect, actually, because…well…suffice it to say, in the back of my brain, sleepy memories are uncurling of something I wrote, and perchance the sunshine comes into it. I’ll say no more in case I am wrong.

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  8. *giggles* I love that a post was born of this. So fun. Ironically, it stormed all night and morning here in N. Texas….and it was heavenly! However, I didn’t have to ride my bike in it. pffft. That would’ve sucked.

    Like I told you the other day, I’m very happy you could find something to like about the rain.

    gooooorgeous word smithing, btw. Loved GG’s analogy of an oil painting. It hit me that way as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I have to say, even as I was experiencing it, right from the very start of seeing the clouds (actually no – it was the crows first) – that day was full of moments of such startlingly rich sensory input that I knew I had to write about it somehow, and I knew that I didn’t want it to be a whinge, so I reminded myself that you liked rain, and to think about why on EARTH that might be, and…well…you see the results! I did my best to make it HD for ya πŸ˜€

      And alright – whilst I’m not quite to the ‘actually liking it’ level yet, I did find things which were pleasant.

      GG’s good like that, isn’t she πŸ™‚

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  9. Hahaha Beth! I used to like the rain, going to the zoo and hiking, the lack of crowds and solitude, etc. Until that is I trained for the 60-mile 3day walk. I HAD to train, several says in Tue rain and then it rained almost all 3 days, and several subsequent days when I was a part of the Crew. Some years it rained like the end of times! New I like rain a little less πŸ™‚ I love your spirit! P.S. There exists a soft hat w long bill you van wear under a helmet. I shall look to see if I can find this on the internet for you. You deserve more reward than that but that’s all I gots!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ohhhh like a legionnaire’s hat? Now there’s a cool idea!

      Your experience with rain sounds SUCKY! Training in the rain followed by an event in the rain sounds awful. What a slog! And I bet it could have been so nice, if it hadn’t been so wet! I’ve signed up for a Brutal 10k in October….it’s gonna hurt. And I’m pretty sure it will rain…

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  10. I love the way the world looks after a good storm – the black sky looming on the horizon, heavy clouds rolling back to reveal bits of blue overhead, and the glorious golden late afternoon light drenching everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I LOVE the rain when I love the rain. I hate it when I hate it and if it fucks up my son’s birthday fireworks, I’mma be pissed. BUT my friend Kristy (yup) and I ran in the rain one night in New York City. It must have been 2am and POURING like huge pouring and we decided to go run. It’s one of the best memories ever.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah but that’s because it was a bonkers mad time in NYC with your friend and a spontaneous moment. It sounds amazing that way. And yes – I know what you mean about loving it when you love it. That makes total sense.

      Rain better stay away from T’s birthday or I’ll have to jump up there and pound Zeus a little! I hope it doesn’t rain, and that he has a fabulous time πŸ™‚

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  12. So being stuck IN the rain (especially a downpour) can kind of suck… bigtime. Especially if you are on your way to a friends wedding and have just spent over an hour on your damn hair!!! Yes this happened to me!
    But, I love it, I love the smell just before it rains. I have always thought of rain as cleansing and a creator of life. It’s also a save on the water bill and we get a lot of water restrictions in Australia come drought time so rain is often prayed for by many.
    I have always adored the ocean, but I rarely get to it. Rain makes me feel more connected I guess. I can see a lot of beauty in it, but that is the closet poet in me hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Get the poet out of the closet every now and again. If you’re so far from the ocean I can see you liking a connection. That makes sense to me. And yes – rain in a drought is wonderful – very cleansing and refreshing then, but England is notorious for rain – we barely get drought enough to miss the stuff!

      That said, you being in drought country and getting caught in downpour when you’d spent so long on your hair is no laughing matter…well, I guess it kind of is, but not really a very happy memory for you, I suspect. That really was poor timing!

      And the SMELL OF RAIN…oh yes! I’d love to know if that’s the same the world over. I suspect so.

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      • Oooh that’s such a good point I had never thought of that! I wonder if it is the same the world over? Hmm that could be an interesting post πŸ™‚ I think it would be different, here if you are near the ocean you get a strong heavy wet salt smell just before, in arid areas you get a coppery west dust smell and in the rainforest you get the wet smell, but it is like all the smells of the forest become stronger and sharper all at once too.

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  13. I’m with Beth and Christine – I do love a good rain. I’ve always loved rainy days – probably among the vast minority, but I find it so cleansing and refreshing. And the sound of rain? No better lullaby for me! Love your description of your experience. Not sure I’d want to take such a ride in the rain…while I do love the rain, I admit to loving it most from indoors. It’s the being wet part I’m not fond of.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I really don’t like the being wet part. Nor do I like the ‘can’t see’ part because of rain on my glasses. That’s really quite debilitating. But no – whilst I agree there’s merit to a snuggle up indoors in the warm on a rainy day when it’s Out There, I would always still rather have sunshine πŸ™‚ You may be in a minority, Lisa, but there are some good people in it, so I can’t hold it against you. Deanna’s another one who likes the rain.

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  14. I love your writing, Lizzi! Your words are so descriptive, I could see the ominous skies and feel the drenching rain! When you talked about the puddle hidden dips, it reminded me of a time I was riding my bike home after a heavy downpour. The sidewalk was very wet with the occasional puddle, and I was feeling like a child as the water sprayed in all directions as I passed. I came to a deeper puddle and I grinned, pedaling faster to pick up speed, anticipating a huge wave. Instead, in the next instant, my front end dropped into the foot-deep hole and I barely saved myself from tumbling over the handlebars and taking a swim. It turned out there had been some construction on the sidewalk and they had taken out a whole section — which I didn’t realize due to the fact that the hole had filled to the brim with rainwater.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ohhh goodness me, I’m so glad you didn’t fall! But I have to say, when already wet through with rain, there is a certain joy to knowing it’s not possible to get wetter, and so just having a bit of fun. Sometimes a bit of child-like behaviour is good for the soul – I’m glad you had fun up to that point – it sounds awesome.

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  15. A cleansing rain.
    We are so spoiled in ‘Murica that I cannot fathom riding a bicycle in the rain to get somewhere. Bikes are for pleasure or exercise, but not for transportation.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Rain is lovely. If you can be in bed, or on the couch, preferably with a good fire going. Popcorn wouldn’t hurt, either. Being outside in the middle of it? Ugh. Reminds me of when I had to walk the mile and a half from campus to my dorm in a torrential downpour. My mascara had bled all down my face before finally washing away. I trudged along, looking like the world’s saddest panda…good times.
    I hope you’re warm and snuggly now. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – from indoors, with no need to go out, rain can be cosy, as long as it’s AWAY! Ohhh the visuals on your poor, sad pandaface! Wow πŸ™‚ That sucks. I hope you got warm and dry nice and quickly and didn’t catch cold! I’m warm and snuggly now, thanks πŸ™‚

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      • Haha. I’m pretty sure I started stripping before I got my door unlocked. (If you can’t be half naked at college, where can you be?) Yes. I got a lovely hot shower and all was right with my world again. πŸ˜‰

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        • I’ve definitely done that kind of thing! Glad all was alright again πŸ™‚ There’s something ironic about the cold water falling on you which brings such misery, and the hot water falling on you which makes it all better. πŸ˜€

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          • I know! ‘I find this wet abhorrent. ‘ … ten minutes later, ‘aaaahhhh this is much better. Lovely. Now I’ll wrap a towel around my still-wet head and go about avoiding writing essays like normal’. πŸ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ohhh write them – get them outta the way and then you can write something lovely.

              (I truly, truly HATE rain. I was snarling about it earlier and it wasn’t even raining! Just the *thought*…!)

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              • Haha. I’m out now. πŸ™‚ And I didn’t procrastinate that much. I really liked my classes that summer.

                Haha. I’m the same way. I love inclement weather if I don’t have to be out in it, or better yet, if it’s so terrible it gets me out of things I didn’t want to do anyway. πŸ˜€

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                • Ahhhh but there’s no such thing as bad weather – only wrong clothes πŸ˜‰

                  Glad you didn’t procrastinate too much. There’s nothing so nice as a class you ENJOY taking πŸ™‚

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                  • Hahaha. I humbly disagree after the past couple days I’ve had. “Hell’s Armpit” sums it up pretty well. There’s no such thing as bad weather – only wrong clothes and no air conditioning and no pond/pool/river/lake/mud puddle. πŸ˜‰

                    Right?! It makes such a difference.

                    Liked by 1 person

  17. I do love a good rain, though riding a bike in it might get tiresome. I might even have been known to go sliding through mud puddles on my belly when in the midst of a really good rainstorm.
    Glad you were able to see the beauty in it and hold the snarliness at bay.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It would have to be a WARM rainstorm for that kind of behaviour, right? And I suppose that sounds kind of messy fun…as long as there’s a hot shower waiting at the end of it.

      Yes – I think the being intentional helped. And the realisation that I COULD change things for myself, if I chose to πŸ™‚

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  18. It is the rainy season in Florida! Chance of rain most everyday! We just roll with it! Matter of fact, we are having a nice thunderstorm right now but the yard and garden need it so much and we’re in the house for the day, so I say “Let it rain!” (Long as the power stays on!)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. (follow-up)… nice Post. Enjoyed reading it. I hope to be able to write as…. imagistically as you now write. This is not to say personable… more about having the words (phrases and sub-ordinate clauses and such) provide everything for my mind to produce a little baby reality-ette.
    v cool

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – I tried to make it pretty writing. In some places it paid off, in others not so much. I think I tried too hard. But it WAS a profound experience. And a bit of an ordeal (which I would think you’d appreciate)

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      • yeah… ordeals, by the manner that they manifest to us, are always a potential to see a little more (than the incredible variety that we, as a people, do everyday. It’s a form of personal re-configuring (temporarily at any rate) that I don’t believe the other two have access to.

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        • Perhaps.

          OH I thunk of you today – I’m reading a book by Daphne DuMaurier, called Julius, and the guy is a clark gone MAD – the main character…like, the absolute WORST traits of a clark…it’s FASCINATING πŸ˜€

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