Let me qualify the title of this post, or perhaps just add “in moderation”! I don’t love it when it rains for days on end, when the sky is battleship grey and everything is damp, in that sense I am the same as most other people. However, every now and then, I do so love a good blast of the wet stuff. It is not just because I am a lazy gardener and a decent cloud soak means no need for the watering can for at least a few days. It is because something beyond my conscious mind recognises the nourishment that rain is, the fact that it is a source of life, without it we would not thrive, we would not live.
When it has been dry for a long spell and the rain starts to gather over a distant horizon I start to get excited. I love that you can smell approaching rain as well as see it. A few years ago I was in Siem Reap, Cambodia at the tail end of the rainy season and what amazed me there was that you could hear it coming! The downpours were heavy and many of the roofs in town made from tin and so you could hear the thunderous deluge as it moved in closer from the edge of town, that was worth getting excited about!
One of my favourite places to experience rain is the desert. When I lived in New Mexico the earth was often parched, not much more than sand and dust. Occasionally I would notice the sudden presence of big black clouds rolling down the I-25 from Santa Fe, and the smell, it was so very strong, scented with approaching dampness. Of course the dramatic skies were also very beautiful adding even more theatre to an already dramatic environment.
Despite all my travels there is no place like home. It has been a long dry summer. Those that spend most of their days indoors may disagree but I garden, I am outside everyday, and certainly here in Gloucestershire it has been dry. So when the rain does come I celebrate. I can feel the energy of the plants in my locale rising, being around them after a good cloud burst you can practically hear them sing.
When the breeze picks up and the first misting of moisture arrives I love to stand and catch the breeze in my hair, the moisture on my skin. It is enlivening, it makes me feel vibrant and wild. To step it up a notch is to go outside and stand barefoot when the raindrops are plump and falling thick and fast. Most other people at this point run for shelter. I recommend pausing for a moment or two to feel the fat velvety rain kiss your face, caress your skin.
I talk about taking a shower in the rain in chapter 6 of my latest book Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature There I talk of rain appreciation of the highest order, an activity for which you need a degree of seclusion or privacy to undertake without unintended consequences, but worth it nonetheless.
Without water, like plants, we shrivel and die. Next time it rains go outside intentionally, feel that rain on your skin, feel it nourish, feed and awaken you. It is one of Nature’s gifts, it is part of Gaia, part of you, love it! ❤