Return of the falling rain

Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain…

That’s a great song. Great song. From The Cascades in 1962.

I was thinking about that song the other day for no other reason that actual falling rain.

It makes a great sound. Or, more precisely, I should say it makes great sounds. Because there’s all types of rain. More types of rain than Bubba has types of shrimp in Forrest Gump.

(Hmm… Forrest Gump shrimp numbers. I thought that would be a funny little joke, and a nod toward a wonderful moment many might recognize from an outstanding movie, only to just now realize that movie also has Forrest talking about different types of rain as well. Still works. Now, back to those sounds…)

Want one example?

There’s an episode of M*A*S*H where Hawkeye loses his sight. (I believe it’s from the fifth season, called “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”.) During the episode, he’s talking about some of the things he’s discovered and learned, and mentions that rain falling sounds like steaks sizzling on a grill.

Steaks on the grill… that’s awesome. The smell… the anticipation. And as Hawkeye points out, the sound. And yes, since hearing him say it, many times over the years I have been aware of falling rain giving off that sound.

For the particular rain that set me off wandering and pondering and writing it was simply rain in February.

Winter in upstate New York… as is winter throughout many places… often brings with it the joys of snow. Funny thing about the northeast, in many areas the winter months bring along temperatures with few days crossing above the 30-degree mark. That means snow… and means no rain.

I absolutely love the smell of fires in October. Those first fires being lit as the temperatures begin to drop. The first whiffs in the air after months without it. There is something magical about a crisp autumn evening with puffs rising from chimneys.

The rain after the winter is remarkably similar to those fires in October… you haven’t experienced falling rain for months, which helps in raising it above general background noise when it arrives.

This hasn’t been a particularly horrible winter season for us. Just two years ago, we went through a brutally cold run though. How cold? Well…

I woke up and turned on the television one day early in March of that year. The weatherman pointed out that it was the sixtieth day of the year, and to that point about two dozen days of the year had greeted the sun rise with a temperature registering in negative numbers.

During the month of February, the average low was below zero and the average high was single-digits.

There’s an event referred to as thundersnow. Simple enough… a thunderstorm, where instead of rain there is snow falling. (And yes, the general concept is pretty cool. Thunder and lightning and a blizzard. That’s neat.) Well, if you went through a month where you were more in need of an outdoor thermometer that had a good range below-zero than one that could tell you anything above 10-degrees, you’d probably find yourself more fascinated with February rain than thundersnow as well.

I like the rain. I enjoy heading outside after a storm and smelling that unmistakable it-just-rained scent of fresh, clean dirt in the air. I’m not necessarily a puddle-stomper, but I can appreciate the effort and the joy some find in it. I enjoy watching the clouds move. And, in just the right conditions, watching the rain slowly move along can be amazing.

When I was younger, I used to love it when it rained. I think a part of that was enjoying something that others didn’t find quite as appealing. With youth sports and neighborhood games, I don’t know if I truly played better in the rain. I do know I enjoyed the challenge of raising myself to the environment. And I can tell you that others around me didn’t seem to do as well during poor conditions.

And then a few days ago, there I was near a skylight in our house… listening to drops of rain land on it. It wasn’t a background noise. It didn’t disappear. I noticed it. Because rain in February just isn’t as common as you might think.

Spring is on the way. The rain showed that more than any groundhog might. A run of cold days is also approaching, with the forecast bringing us back to some single-digit overnight thrills. Swings of thirty to forty degree differences in high temperatures, just one day apart, are coming. Spring has not arrived just yet.

After the rain though, the rainbow. The return of the rain is a welcome arrival.


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