It’s not uncommon to hear people talking about the peace they find listening to rain falling and how much they enjoy this simple phenomenon, but what I haven’t come across very often is someone who enjoys the rain more so than a sunny day. The sound of rain pattering against the window, or impacting the roof of the car someone is in might be their favorite part about the rain, but this is only one aspect of it. On the other hand, rainy weather is also described as gloomy, and associated with depressing themes. I almost never understood this attitude. Coming from New Orleans where rain is about as common as a Tuesday, this climatic event set the background for most of my life, and I came to understand it as the absolutely necessary weather pattern that it is. It’s most likely because of the heat and discomfort of being outside throughout a sunny afternoon that I came to enjoy the shade and cool air of a light shower, but even heavy storms had a soft place in my heart.
Ironically, heavy storms were among the most dangerous and disruptive things the Earth could throw at us, but I loved it all. Sure the sky is grey and the sun is blocked, but how often do the colors of the ground and plants get to be as saturated as their material is, and set against a plain background to stand out even more. The richness of healthy plants with plenty to drink makes for foliage bursting with new life and deep or vibrant colors. The sound of rain may set the tone, but the real beauty is in what the water brings to the environment around you. The branches of trees lightly sway in the wind and and the leaves continue to drip long after the rain has settled, reminding you the chaos of the storm brought creation as well as destruction. And the falling of the rain along with its noise so poetically juxtaposes the calm that came before and the stillness that remains afterwards. On a sunny day there can be so much going on. Everything is active, from squirrels and cats roaming neighborhoods to people running errands. But rainy afternoons are emblematic of rest. Most people don’t go outside to play in the rain (a terrible missed opportunity in my opinion), and prefer to stay inside and read, watch a movie marathon, or do some work around the house. For the most part, people’s plans aren’t too heavily affected, but there always seems to be an air of “oh, but it’s raining” in how people talk about the rain. Maybe it’s just the meteorologists.
But I think there’s something valuable in the subtle admiration of inclement weather. The chaos it brings shakes up our day and tends to undo any sense of monotony, unless it rains more frequently than it doesn’t, but this isn’t normally the case for most regions. A relief from the often times overbearing heat of the sun is a very welcome gift, and the refreshing rainfall brings a moment of respite in lives of us busy people. It can be a nuisance to deal with at times, but let’s be honest, so can other people. However, this blast of chaos brings the revitalization of life with it, and a sunny day is only warm and bright in contrast to a dark thunderstorm. But what philosophic implications does this have for life? Well, just as there is a balance in clear skies and pouring rain, so too is there in any other dualism. One side is only properly perceived in complement to the other. The rain brings water to refresh life and wash away waste, and the sun brings warmth and light to feed and illuminate our environment. The two work hand in hand, and though one side’s negativities may seem more obvious than the other, it doesn’t mean that it’s a negativity to be suffered all together. It would be wise to remind ourselves with insight from the rain not to let the appearance of things distract us from the reality. Gloomy skies, cold and wet air, and muddy puddles are just as necessary as sun shine and warm rays. And when you look at it, it’s not so bad out there. It can’t always be the best of times, because then everyday would just be the same, old thing over and over. So appreciate the rain, and everything else that seems to be a negative inconvenience. What isn’t in line with our values helps us to know who we are and where we stand, and we likewise do the same for others. There’s a reciprocal balance that must be met in all things between their opposing sides, and conflict between them is necessary. Opposition is mutually defining. We must know what we are not, to know what we are, and it is from this knowledge that we can define and hone our values and skills and find what we have to bring to the world. So remind yourself every now and then, that negativity, though problematic, isn’t a problem unless it’s all you ever see.