Our Voices

Photo of Rain

Matthew Kingston on October 24th, 2012 @ 01:34 PM No comments
“And then the rains came. They came down from the hills and up from the sound. And it rained a sickness. And it rained a fear. And it rained an odor. And it rained a murder. And it rained dangers and pale eggs of the beast. Rain poured for days, unceasing.”

-Tom Robbins, Another Roadside Attraction

Everyone has an opinion on the rain. Like it, love it, hate it, dread it, understand it, need it, what have you. Everyone has an opinion, no more so than Seattleites.

As a Midwesterner by birth, rain is a bringer of life, a necessity for the crops and livestock, and to keep those 10,000 lakes full up. It came clattering and rolling across the plains, anvils of doom, colored gray, looming large. Torrents. Corn grew, hogs feasted, cows mooed and chewed cud. People paddled, swam, fished, water skied, and raced. Sometimes, tornadoes whipped their way across the landscape, ripping and tearing as they went. It permeated and infused the landscape. Lush and green and humid, all summer long. Then, of course, it turned to snow. Let’s not talk about that.

Colorado, on the other hand, showed me the value of rain. With wildfires consuming forests and homes, with irrigation ditches running low, with reservoirs sagging, water bans and desert dryness are commonplace. Often, the summer rains come, huge clouds piling up over the Continental Divide, a deluge lasting twenty, thirty minutes, then clear, blue skies. Bluest skies this side of Montana.

But Seattle. Seattle has the rain. A dark, damp sheet hanging over us, nine months a year, wrung out minute by minute, a light mist. I make no claim to be a local, and the water doesn’t permeate my veins and pours like it does the people here, a quiet squish in the bottom of the soul, like too-wet shoes plodding down the street.

I’ve adopted Seattle as my home. The only place I really want to live. And it’s because of the rain. When people ask me why I like Seattle, I tell them I like the rain. Most of them laugh. Many think I’m joking. A few nod, but I’m not sure they really understand. Because I do love the rain. The sound of it, the way it pitters and pats, the soft sounds echoing through the fan ducts into my bathroom as I brush my teeth, the puddles outside that splash and radiate concentric circles outward, wiping away reflections, the way rain falls through phosphorescent streetlights in the lengthening evenings. I could exist in this forever.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sunshine, and we had a glorious summer, and if we could have that every day, I’d give you my first born, or some such thing. But, summer is for sitting on porches and grilling and swimming and sailing. Distractions abound, reverberate through the air like dust particles in sunshine. And it is glorious. And tiring.

For me, rain is my season. The whole thing, October to May. Or longer. Whatever. Even when 45 days of rain come pouring down, I’m in my place. Among my people.

For me, the fall is a time of rest, or readjusting my habits and falling back into reading and writing and drinking far too much coffee. Shaky hands, amped up and blood flowing, words and words and words and words and words. Entire civilizations rise up from the meandering streams running down the street, their entire life cycles playing out across the landscape of my mind. Hundreds of thousands of lives populate my daydreams, staring out a window, computer glow in my face, watching the rain fall.

Where some people soak up sunshine, I soak up rain for inspiration. To me, the rainy season is the best season. The novel progresses much more quickly now than during the summer. It seems as if my imagination is more finely tuned, forced to be focused on the internal constructions as opposed to making plans about this or that summer activity. My characters become more vivid, plots untangle, descriptions become easier. Writing flows, permeates, floods, breaks its bounds and cascades down around everything that I do, every day. It is glorious. A spiritual experience.

I could go on and on, as the rain. As Tom Robbins writes, the rains came, and they brought everything with them. Time to party.

Thank goodness the rains have come. Thank goodness.

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