I do love a good map, especially a weather map, and this is the ‘rainfall radar’ from the MetOffice (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/observation/rainfall-radar#?map=Rainfall&fcTime=1664914500&zoom=5&lon=-4.00&lat=55.01)
There are lots of different kinds of rainy days. There are the ones that are accompanied with flashes of sun between rolling black clouds. On the beach, you can usually see the downpours coming: A hazy veil swishing towards you. You can see when you will get wet, and that afterwards the sky will clear and the rain will stop. Then there are what I call ‘flat white’ rainy days. These are just as if the sky has dropped down to just above your head and we are stooping under a white -grey blanket of drizzle and steady rain – like today.
Did you know?
The shape of a raindrop is not really the tear shaped pattern we draw as children (perhaps tears aren’t really that shape either…?). Raindrops form within a cloud around a particle floating in the air. Rain does not form in a ‘pure’ environment, without a particle such as dust the moisture would not cling and coalesce into a ‘ball of liquid’ to be held together by a layer of surface tension to form as a droplet. Once the raindrop starts to fall it takes the shape of a jellybean.
Rainy days that are grey and dark and can be depressing – although the thought of being rained on by jellybeans rather than tears, will hopefully put a more positive perspective on the situation in the future.
Rain can also be thought of as cleansing, wiping things clean and refreshing the earth.
Rain for me is about commitment. It is easy to go for a walk on the beach on a sunny day, but to force oneself outdoors into the drizzle and spitting rain can be difficult – but when I make the effort, it is wonderful (Wonderful because I have overcome a personal hurdle – and once outside, I love it!)!
On a very wet day you are totally immersed within the environment, feeling the rain soak through your jeans, down the back of your jacket, dripping from your fringe – and being cleansed as it cleanses the earth around. On a wet day I am part of sea and sky in a very real sense. It is less about looking at the nature around you as being IN the environment and seeing it from inside out – and coming home afterwards to get warm is a lovely luxury.
I like watching rain falling on the sea. I always wonder if those raindrops feel cheated for landing at the end of their journey as opposed to those raindrops falling on the top of mountains who have an amazing journey all the way to the sea. But those raindrops know what they are doing – they have been round the cycle forever, endlessly evaporating with heat, condensing with cold and landing where the wind blows them to travel back to the oceans. Where have the raindrops falling on my face today been before? What stories could they tell?
Without these little jellybeans we would not survive. Days when they fall are days to rejoice; not to pull your collar up against them, but to hold your face upwards to drink in their live-giving gift.
The sound of the beach today
I love the energy in the waves as they race up and down the sand: Catch a ride and let it energise you for your day.
Robert Louis Stevenson: A Children’s Garden of Verses
The rain is falling all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.
This poem was in a book (The Children’s Garden of Verses) I had as a child, and I learned it as we learned Nursey Rhymes. I like its simplicity, the way the rhythm rolls, and its ‘inclusivity’ – all things get wet when it rains – even the ships, which are already wet! I remember as a child looking out to sea and thinking of those ships in a ‘water sandwich’ when it rained and wondering whether sailors carried umbrellas…
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