I do love a rainy city.
I lived in London. Then Vancouver. Now Auckland. All three cities renown for rain, rain and more rain. Sideways rain, constant rain, sheets of rain, musical night rain. Rain that upsets all the playground plans you had or the picnic date, the beach visit, the casual stroll. Rain that turns your hair to fuzz and leaves a damp chill in your bones. For all intents and purposes, rain is a pain in the (bleep). But. I love it. I love the colour of the clouds when it rains. I love the sound of it on the roof and the perfume of it, thick in the sky, just before it pours down.
Rain sends me back into memories of other rainy places and rainy times. Pushing my stroller through Vancouver drizzle, watching a grey, London sky-line from the comfort of a warm bed, running through puddles on my way home from school. Here, in New Zealand, I love to stare out at the colour of the clouds, inspiring me to paint walls in our new home grey, and the milky-green of the sea as the rain strikes upon it. I delight in watching B1 splash about in puddles and B2’s puzzled face as the raindrops find her pink, bare cheeks.
I don’t know exactly why I love the rain so much. I know a lot of keen gardeners who love the rain because it means their plants are getting nourished. But I don’t garden, not yet anyway, so it’s not that. Perhaps it reminds me of being in a shower, my holy place for creativity or, listening to jazz, the dancing rhythm of it. Maybe, because I grew up in New Zealand, it just feels right and reminds me of my childhood; a welcome relief from all the Sydney heat we had over summer. And, I’m sure, the upsetting of plans secretly appeals to my inner laziness, my longing to curl up on the sofa or while away the afternoon at the library.
Probably it is all those things and the very most important thing – rain is surely the best weather to read in. Inside, of course : sox on, snuggled up, tea close by. Do rainy cities produce more voracious readers? Has anyone researched a correlation? Surely there is one. For these rainy days I have two personal recommendations. Firstly – my favourite poem of all time – “Rain”. Here it is, animated, in case you too adore the rain and the wonderful and late Hone Tuwhare, one of New Zealand’s most loved poets. My favourite bit?
” the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground “
I swear the scent fills my nostrils every time I read that part, a completely indescribable smell – luscious and welcome. Possibly even more delicious than cut grass or basked bread. My second rain reading recommendation is one for the Littles: The Rain Train, by Elena de Roo. It’s my Dad’s favourite to read to B1. Elena de Roo is another New Zealand author with a talent for capturing the percussion and charm of falling rain. And on that note, off I head to the couch to enjoy the wonderful pitter-patter, drip-drop, splish-splash. Book du jour tucked, firmly, under arm.
Do you have a favourite piece of writing about rain? What is your favourite reading weather?