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The Usefulness of Rain for the Soul

Updated on May 16, 2011

This is how it works: I choose my Day Off in advance, thereby guaranteeing rain for that day. I then spend the weeks leading up to the Day Off hoping that the rain will break for that day. It never happens. Now this used to annoy me as it meant that, because my Days Off are for writing, I would have to sit in a coffee shop all day — Days Off cannot be taken at home, because children have a crafty knack of getting the off-duty parent to do things for them, and then before you know it, you're doing the washing up and making the tea. Domestic duties are banned on Days Off: Days Off must be taken away from the home.

Now, I'm not pathetic, I could happily be out in the rain all day, but my notebook doesn't really like it. So on Days Off in the past I would high me to Costa or Starbucks (other coffee houses are available, but these are my favourites - don't tell my aunt, because she owns a café.) This would be fine, except that I would become sleepy from eating panini (panini = plural, panino = singular — not a lot of people know that) and not moving about very much, but my legs would be twitchy from the caffeine I'd been consuming.

One solution I toyed with was to not choose my Day Off until the last minute. But with a partner and three children to plan for, this way of trying to guarantee sun for myself could not work: partners and children need at least one week's notice of the mother's annual leave request. Another idea that occurred to me was to point to the day I fancied on the calendar, but not mention that date in actual words. But this did not work for two reasons: my partner cannot remember dates if they are not spoken out loud several times, and also the weather can read minds, and therefore always knows my plans.

So. I came up with a very cunning plan that would allow me to foil the rain's plans to drench me or force me to fill my legs with caffeine: I decided to use the car! Genius! Ha ha! Take that, rain, you cannot reach me now, and you cannot make me twitchy! In my car I can keep with me a flask of green tea with pineapple, which has no effect on my legs at all, and actually serves to invigorate and energise. I can keep a packed lunch with me, to avoid spending Starbucks prices on sandwiches and cakes that don't really fill me.

But that's not the main benefit. No, the main benefit is that I can go wherever I like! Freedom! (I know, a proper writer should not need to use an exclamation mark, ever - but I just can't express the feelings of joy that I'm overcome by at this new ability to roam the earth otherwise; well, roam it within about a fifty-mile radius of my town.) Last month I went up to the hills surrounding my humble historic town of Lancaster, and I looked down on the surrounding villages and the bay and the mountains in the distance. It wasn't quite the top of the world, but it was close to it. Today I have come to Windermere, in the Lake District. It's only about thirty miles from my house, but so much easier to reach with a car; I could probably walk it, but I'd just get here and it would be time to go home. Anyway, if I had postponed my Day Off because of the rain today, I would not have seen this corner of the world being washed clean; I would not have seen people feeding the ducks, geese and swans in a downpour; I would not have noticed our plucky British spirit on display, with people ignoring the rain and going out for a Sunday constitutional just as they do every weekend (people walk in the rain in other countries too, I'm sure, it's just nice to see my fellow countrymen and -women getting on with life in spite of the weather, with their 'it's only water' attitude — just grand); I would not have had the opportunity to sit and watch the world go by in quite the same way had I chosen to take my Day Off in a coffee shop.

People still look so happy today, are still wearing broad smiles, and laughing with their families. They are being given the opportunity to put their hoods to use, and their umbrellas and their wellies.

Rain is a fact of life in the UK. Other countries get worse spells of rain, of course; for instance, I have never seen a hurricane or a flood. When we get rain in the UK it tends to drizzle for days, with teasingly bright sunny spells. If we didn't just get on with it and go about our business, we would sit in the house all day. My children have a bit of a rainphobia if I allow them to — sometimes it's more fun to stay inside and play with Lego. But I want to teach them that there's something very rewarding about enduring a bit of a wetting for a couple of hours.

About once a year I get the opportunity to do one of my favourite things, and that is to get soaked to the skin on a hot summer's afternoon! I can't tell you the meteorology of it, because I don't know about such things, but very occasionally on a close (def. uncomfortably humid or airless : a close, hazy day) hot day we will get a freak shower, with rain drops the size of conchigliette (I'm only using that comparison because I am eating minestrone soup with that particular shape of pasta in it). The shower is deafening, is very dense, so that there is hardly a space in the air without water in it, rain so thick that you can't see through it. I like to rush out into the rain in my bare feet and run around the garden whooping — my children love it, of course. And we all skip about and laugh together, being careful not to touch each other though, because where clothes touch skin goosepimples jump up, causing a person to scream in shock. It's quite possible that our neighbours think we're odd — I hope so. Those showers only last a minute or two, so once we're drenched to the skin we all rush back in, now shivering and giggling, and wrap each other in towels and have a cup of tea. There is no photographic evidence of these drenchings because they happen out of the blue and are over before the camera can be found. If I were Marianne Dashwood, on such a rainy occasion I might ask, 'is there any felicity in the world superior to this?'

Sometimes rain is just a real blessing (if you believe in blessings). On a nice day I would have walked around this lake. Now, when you walk around this place you are often under cover of the trees, you are watching your footing and you are not looking up. Here, I am forced to sit in the car, on a hilltop parking spot chosen for its super view of the lake below, and I am able to gaze and gaze, and imagine myself a Swallow or an Amazon (I know, it's Windermere, not Coniston, but the ferry is not in operation today, so I couldn't reach the right lake from here.)

Rain. Can be a pain.

But mostly it's useful.

And really rather wonderful.



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    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Hi Michael,

      We're going on holiday to Northumberland this summer, and the rain there is amazing. We go prepared to get wet, but we have to take warm weather clothes as well, the weather changes so quickly. When we go to Bamburgh beach we can see the weather changing right before our eyes, heavy black clouds at one end of the beach, and bright hot sunshine at the other; the rain lasts for five minutes, and then it's passed over and we all can sunbathe again. It's brilliant fun!

      Also, I was cycling the other evening, and it started raining without any real warning - but I was having such a good time being outside and just enjoying the fresh air and the views that I didn't notice the rain until I was soaked. Dried off easy enough, no worries :)

      The only rain I don't like is the rain on the school run that makes me have to do more washing!


    • michael ely profile image

      michael ely 6 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Linda, Good hub. You're quite right. We shouldn't let rain dictate to us and keep us inside or stop us doing things. I also know that feeling of the rain coming from seemingly nowhere when you have something planned for outside. As if it knows exactly when to appear.

      Cheers. Michael.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      You see, Professor, what it is, is that this hub kind of represents my whole philosophy towards my life - weather cannot be controlled, therefore, shall we let it depress us and get us down, or shall we embrace it and find beauty and laughter in it? I've got to go for the latter :) I'm not being flippant here, really. I apply this way of thinking, daily; I'm not blissfully happy completely by accident, you see, I work at it by being mindful of happiness all the time (in a Buddhist way, I suppose), (and that's not to say that anyone else does not work at it! I'm not saying that at all!)

      I love that beat of the raindrops on the car roof, I love how it changes rhythm depending on the heaviness of the downpour.

      We have those 'incessant hours of dreary gray skies' that you mentioned - we're just coming out of a long spell of daily rain now - and I must tell you that I have not seen anyone drained of life, quite the reverse. It must be that Blitz Spirit that we have, or something - though, obviously, I do not remember the Blitz, so I'm not sure about that! Nope, Professor, I do not recognise this misery and helplessness that you speak of, because, even in this rainy country of mine, I simply do not see it, ever.

      If it's raining, Professor, and you want to play, I think you should don some waterproofs and some wellies, and get out and splash in the puddles :D That's what I do ;)

      Have a good day Mike :D


    • profile image

      Aka Professor M 6 years ago

      While I love the Crash of the thunder and the brilliant flashes of lightning, and nature at her tumultuous best, rain leaves me unfulfilled! The stead beat of the raindrops on a cars roof, bonnet and trunk is annoying.

      Worse is the incessant hours of dreary gray skies which seem to drain the life out of the poor souls who must venture out in it!

      Just the knowing that they will inevitably become drenched thoroughly and completely, is misery compounded, by the helplessness they feel.

      Now that I've made my feelings clear let me add one more

      phrase, Linda! This was well written and illustrated as are most of your Hubs. I have voted it up on those merits.

      But as for my feelings about the rain they are simply this, Linda!

      Rain rain go away! Don't come back when I want to Play!

      Regards Mike! (Aka Professor M!) ;D

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Linda, I know that feeling. I will be reading something, and the "Wow" factor appears, and I look at it, and suddenly my mind tumbles into memory, and I get a massive frisson, and think, !"I wrote that. Why the hell? How the hell?".

      It's a sort of a vindication that in all the scribbling there are sometimes a few veins of gold... and then I think, "I hope it's not Fool's Gold".

      But fret not, gentle maiden.; when I see that Lady Wordsmith has posted a new hub, I know I'm going to be in for a treat.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Ooh Neelesh, what a picture you've painted - sounds sublime, and yes, very liberating. Envious eyes - I know those eyes, I see them looking at me sometimes, particularly when I'm doing something that I'm not supposed to do because I'm a 'adult', such as tree-climbing.

      love2dogs, thank you so much :)

      Hi chs, thanks for following my trail! :)

      INFJay - so nice to hear from you. Hope you enjoyed that rain :D

      Will, hello. I think it's easier to enjoy a rainy day when it's been long awaited. Maybe I'm a little hard on people who get annoyed with so much rain, because we had a spell of rain a couple of summers ago when it rained almost without stopping for eight weeks solid - even I had my spirits dampened by that!

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Ian. You are so lovely to me :D I really treasure your comments, they're like manna :)

      Those bits of writing you pointed out, that appear from time to time, are not really mine - they come from Pratchettesque inspiration particles, that I'm lucky enough to catch now and then. Do you get this thing too, whereby you'll be reading something that you wrote a while ago, and you won't recognise it as your own writing because it seems too brilliant? And you can't actually remember writing it, although you know that you did, because it's definitely yours and has your name on it? But it's just so brilliant that it makes you feel proud of yourself? I'm sure you've had that lots of times, especially with your poetry.

      I'm looking after your rain. It threatened to leave yesterday, and it allowed the sun to come out, but it's back again with a vengeance this morning.


    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Chris, I've heard that there's a drought in the rest of the country. I was blissfully unaware of it until a couple of days ago when it was discussed on the radio. I'd love to share some of our rain.

      Thank you Fiddleman - a real pleasure to receive a comment from you :)

      Hello Sunnie :) Summer rain is just wonderful, and I wish that we had a deck to sit out on sometimes, so that we could enjoy it a bit more - that would be so relaxing.


    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I love a rainy day. In the American Southwest, it's a rare treat.

    • INFJay profile image

      Jay Manriquez 6 years ago from Santa Rosa, California

      Inspiring!! (love them too!) It is raining today, as I post this comment in fact, in Santa Rosa, CA and you've just inspired me to look at my day from a different perspective. This is an unseasonably rainy few days for us and is a bit of a longer!

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 6 years ago from Ireland

      Good writing and great to follow you on your trail.

    • love2dogs profile image

      love2dogs 6 years ago from NH

      Very nice, flowing hub.

      Thank you for a good read. :)

    • neeleshkulkarni profile image

      neeleshkulkarni 6 years ago from new delhi

      sitting by the lake getting drenched while everyone else scurries for cover.what a liberating feeling.

      the days i get wet i love to walk in the middle of the road calmly walking on as the rain soaks me and people arounf who are rushing for cover look at me with envious eyes.

      Lady wordsmith i want it to rain nowwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      What is it that I like about your writing so very, very much? I don't know, It is just so very lovely to read and to savour. And here and there in that lovely flow, I find something that goes like: " The shower is deafening, is very dense, so that there is hardly a space in the air without water in it, rain so thick that you can't see through it."

      Linda, "hardly a space in the air without water in it" is so lovely.

      We hardly have any rain in London any more. You must be having my share. Please take care of it for me. I love heavy rain. It reminds me of growing up in Perth and in India.

      Marked up in all the right places.


    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 6 years ago

      Hello Lady Wordsmith,

      This hub was so delightful and I truly enjoyed it. I love rainy days too..I like to sit on the back deck and just watch it pour down..I have been know to pull weeds when it is misting too...This was a beautiful picture you shared with us today..Thank you.


    • Fiddleman profile image

      Robert Elias Ballard 6 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Sounds like a plan to me, good writing.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Rain could be really useful here at the moment. We havent had hardly any for about two months now, and a lot of things are starting to get a bit parched.

      Thanks for that beautiful picture of an english day out.