Cool rain

Is there anything more boring than talking about the weather?

I don’t mean the extreme and tragic events that rightfully dominate our conversations; I’m referring to the ordinary, everyday commentary that ultimately leads to chestnuts like “hot enough for you?”  Yet, here I am getting ready to spend an entire post on rain.  But that’s different, because rain is cool.

I think everyone has had some moment in their life where they have enjoyed a good rain.  Purely from a “macro” view, a rain freshens the air, brightens the landscape and brings out more life all around when it passes.

I have been fascinated and enthralled by the rain since I was a boy.  I think this first started on my grandparents’ dock, sitting with my fishing pole.  I’ve detailed in many posts now how much I loved fishing in general and that dock, specifically.  I tended to ignore calls to come inside in favor of squeezing as many minutes as I could fishing.

One day, with dark clouds rolling in, my Grandma made the urgent call for me to come inside.  I pleaded for “just a few more minutes” and was granted a stay.  As I sat there, pole braced against my lap (not in a place where a jerk from a fish bite might cause me irreparable damage), I watched the clouds let loose their package.   Against the sky, gray streaks masked the blue behind the rain.  The air became still, as it sometimes does just before a front moves in.  Even the fish seemed to be pausing to watch the clouds.

I kept up my vigil, in rapt enjoyment, as the gray soon obscured the houses a couple blocks away.  Then a block away.  Then it covered the houses across the canal.  Then it crawled towards me; slower now.  On the seawall of the house across the canal.  Even slower now.  About a quarter of the way into the canal.  Halfway across the canal.  I could now feel the cold air from the front sitting above me.

And then, it stopped.  Not stopped raining, just stopped moving.  It was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my young life (and remains one of the coolest things ever, for me).  For several minutes, the rain came down on half the canal, while I sat safely dry on my grandparent’s dock on the other half of the canal.  After a while, the rain stopped; the front moving off in a different direction or the clouds dissipating in my area.  I’d like to tell you that right at that instant I got a huge bite and caught a mighty fish, but in reality all that happened is my Grandma used her “business” voice in ordering me inside.  But that rain was all I talked about the rest of the weekend.

Years later, during my riding-my-bike-to-school period, I got caught in the rain coming home.  Florida is famous for sudden thunderstorms and this was one of our classic “toad stranglers”, just a massive deluge of water so thick it’s nearly impossible to see, even in the middle of the afternoon.  Fortunately, when I was just bike riding back and forth to school, I didn’t really need to see, having taken the (reasonably) short route so many times I could do it, well, even blinded by rain.

Except, this storm had a bit of nasty to it.  Beyond the great gouts of rain that had now thoroughly soaked everything I owned (books, papers, clothes, shoes), increasingly strong gusts of wind were being thrown my way.  And, don’t you know, the winds were blowing against me.  A nasty storm isn’t going to help me get home!  I’m sure if the rain allowed anyone to actually see me, they would have found comical the almost cartoon scene of a little boy (skinny as I was then) pedaling furiously on his bike in the rain and getting practically nowhere.  Then a gust of Hollywood-like proportions struck me and, in true Dorothy fashion, my bike and I were picked up off the ground.  Fortunately, it was only a gust and the few feet it tossed me didn’t require ruby slippers to get me the rest of the way home.  It was a frightening moment at the time, but within a few days I added it to my list of cool rain experiences.

I’ve already shared with you the couple rain stories on fishing trips with my Dad (check out “Disaster at Sea” in March’s blogs), which added breadth and variety to my memorable rain moments.  There are also a few I could talk about during my time with my last company, but I’ll get to those when I do a series of blogs on that whole working experience.  In fact, I’ve got lots more rain stories to talk about, more than enough to make you understand my special fascination and enchantment with rain.  But I think I’ve given you enough to work with for now.

I do think rain is cool and we could certainly use some right now because, you know, it’s like hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk out there.

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