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Report From PIA – August 23

As a gardener, I do love a rainy day, or even several days in a row. Once I feel assured that the storm will deliver that ideal inch-plus over a 24 hour period, I love knowing that the entire landscape has been well watered for the week to come.

I also like the feeling of being indoors when it’s storming outside. Work might prevent me from being able to sit down with a cup of tea and a book, but the weather puts me in that frame of mind. It’s warm, lazy and cozy inside as the storm passes outdoors.

Along the way I’ve heard others’ responses to rainy weather. One friend says that when she was a child her mother always took them shopping on such days, so guess what rain brings to her mind? Another friend remembers waiting with glee to be able to go out and play in the puddles.

When I was growing up, I was one of the few kids in my neighborhood whose mother let me go out and play even as the rain was falling. Either she knew that the old myth of “catching your death of cold” in a rain was hogwash, or she was just glad that the kids were out of the house and not underfoot for a while. In any case, I was blessed to be able to dance under raindrops to my hearts content.

As a culture we make an enemy of rain. Even during a drought, weather reporters talk of rain as if it’s the plague, especially if it falls during the sacred weekend. We use stormy weather as a metaphor for upset and the blues.

Yet in the tourist destination where I live, I know that many local merchants are especially glad of today’s storm. Since visitors to the Cape can’t go to the beach they are more likely to go shopping. Vacationers might be mourning this downpour, but bookstore owners are jumping up and down with delight.

Rain will fall as it will, or won’t, as was the case this summer, but it might be useful for us all to look at why we respond to rain as we do. Does a storm bring you back to your childhood, onto a cozy armchair, or into the garden?

Because the wind and mist, I decide to take a photo of the garden from my bedroom balcony. At this writing, we've gotten just shy of an inch of rainfall. I'm singing Jackson Browne's lyrics to the storm: "Oh won't you stay, just a little bit longer..."

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