When was the last time you saw a rainy day postcard? Sure, we all like the postcard view of the world. The one where the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the water even bluer, but early in the season, the weather here in the Thousand Islands is often “duckie”.
Thirty years ago, we only visited the island for two weeks out of the year---almost always the last week of July and the first week of August. During that two-week window, we may have experienced one or maybe two days of rain. On those rainy days we played cards, put together puzzles or engaged each other in a long drawn-out game of Monopoly.
Even then, I was aware that earlier and later in the season, it was rainier. My mother-in-law used to lament about weather in late May and early June, cursing the “naughty northeast wind” and the rain that it brought.
I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing May and June weather for nearly two decades now. I know first hand that when the wind starts blowing from the northeast, we’re probably in for three cool, cloudy, rainy days. When husband Gary sees a row of rain icons on his trusty weather app, he moans. Gary hates rain. He wants to be outside on the dock or in a boat. Gary wants to live in the postcard world.
I secretly rejoice. Rainy days mean writing days. Of course, I can write when the sun is shining, but I often feel guilty that I’m not weeding the garden or out in the boat. Rain provides me guilt-free time to write. Besides, there’s something very compelling about the sound of rain pounding on the roof above my head. The harder it rains, the faster I type. It’s not something I usually tell people because I’ve found that there aren’t a lot of people out there who share this point of view—but at the risk of being ostracized I’ll come out and admit it—I love rainy days.
Only recently, I discovered that there is a name for this weird attraction to rain—pluviophile. Pluvia Latin for rain and Phile meaning a person having a fondness for a specific thing. It was a friend who introduced me to the term. “I think you are a pluviophile,” she replied to me after reading yet another email from me where I yammered on about a particularly beautiful rainy day. She referred me to an online quiz to verify her assumption. It was titled: 7 Signs You’re a Pluviophile.
#1 You Find Comfort in the Rain. Check!
I love to fall asleep when it’s raining. The rain thumping on the roof sounds like the heartbeat of someone held close.
#2 You Enjoy Being Outside in the Rain. Check!
I walk every day. Weather guru Gary likes to tell me the best time to walk when I won’t get wet, but I’ve discovered that as long as I’m appropriately attired, I don’t mind walking in misty or light raining. I kinda like it. I love the feel of mist on my face. Our wet Island world is shimmers when bedazzled in raindrops.
#3 You Want to Bottle up that “After Rain” Scent. Check!
I’ve always found River air intoxicating, but it seems more aromatic after a rain shower. In June, the post-rain air is filled with birdsong making it only that much better.
#4 You Love the Darkness of the Sky. Check!
Postcard skies are static—vanilla. But rainy-day skies can be dramatic, sometimes a little scary, even thrilling. I love to watch a storm roll in.
#5 You Never Leave Your Window. Check!
I love watching raindrops on the windowpane. Whatever I’m doing on a rainy day, I’ll want to be near a window.
#6 You Could Listen to the Sound of Rain all Day Check!
The best place to listen to the rain is in our bedroom of our 1895 cottage. The sound of rain on the peaked roof above is soothing and reassuring. But I love the way it sounds on the metal roof of the boathouse or as it hits the water or splashes off the granite rocks.
#7 You Don’t Mind Getting Soaked. Negative.
As I said before, I like being outside in a misty, light rain. A hard downpour sends me scurrying for cover. I don’t like getting soaked. Like most islanders, I’ve been caught in an open boat during a downpour. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not my idea of fun either.
So, it wasn’t quite a slam dunk. But, I scored six out of seven, putting me high on the Pluviophile Scale.
But even pluviophiles have their limits. Last June it was downright monsoon-like. I think it rained—at least a little bit---every day for six weeks straight. We were hoping and praying the water levels would drop because our out-buildings and docks were underwater. But it kept on raining and raining and raining. By July, even this pluviophile was shouting to the cosmos—“STOP RAINING!”
I get it. I’m the odd one. When was the last time you got a postcard from a friend saying, “My vacation is great! It rained everyday!” Most people are like my husband and grumble when they see a string of rainy days in the forecast.
I know not everyone appreciates the beauty of a rainy day, the way I do. But still, next time there is a light rain: take a walk outside, watch the patterns the raindrops make in the water, look at the way raindrops bedazzle everything they touch, shut your eyes and listen to the rhythm of the rain and breathe in a lung-full of that fresh, rain-washed air. If you stay inside: watch two raindrops race down the windowpane; listen to the different sounds the rain makes as it lightly pecks against the window or thumps hard on the roof overhead; relish the pause Mother Nature has just given you to rest and relax indoors. Who knows—someday you, might write home, “Had a great vacation! It rained every day!”
Perhaps I should start a series of rainy day postcards.
By Lynn E. McElfresh, Grenell Island
Lynn McElfresh has written 113 articles for TI Life. This month, she tries to convince us that Rainy Days are fun… Are they? (Actually for me they are too, as I can sit in my library and write, read or play with my button collection – what do you do on rainy days?)
Lynn often writes about her favorite Grenell Island and island life. We have learned a great deal over the years from her musings, from moving pianos to island weddings, or from plumbing problems to meeting old friends and taking nature walks. Back in June 2011, she introduced us to her favourite game called SHIP. Check it out. To see all of Lynn’s island experiences, search TI Life under Lynn E. McElfresh.