Journal prompt: How do rainy days make you feel?

Growing up in Redding, California, I don’t recall a lot of rain. I remember it being very cold in the winter sometimes, but never did it snow. When it did rain, I remember waking to a wet ground, but there were never any downpours during waking hours, at least not that I can remember. We moved to Portland, Oregon, when I was 9 years old, and the climate in Portland is vastly different from Redding, which is almost desertlike in its lack of constant precipitation. I have come to appreciate the rain. But there are different kinds of rainy days, making this question, ‘How do rainy days make you feel?’ fairly difficult to answer singularly.

If the day is generally gray and dark with heavy showers, it can feel oppressive and depressing. Heavy rain, though, can be soothing. Letting the large raindrops drumming a rooftop with their chaotic rhythm wash over your senses can be uplifting and cleansing. The quiet moment that you have, where nature and human intervention communicate, letting you know that you are warm and dry in the shelter of your home is comforting. But when the downpour happens and you’re caught out in it without an umbrella—even with an umbrella since shoes usually get soaked—it reminds you that you are a small being caught up in the chaos of the world.

Then there are days that are dark and gray, but it only ever gets weakly misty. Those kinds of days are more annoying, since I often just want it to rain and get it over with. It’s like the purgatory of rainy days.

Other days are more akin to a game of tag. It rains torrents one moment and a few moments later, it’s bright, the skies saturated with golden light streaming through breaks in the nearly black clouds. The most enthralling of these types of rain–sun patterns is when it’s sunny yet pouring buckets at the same time. A Japanese friend of mine once told me that Japanese folklore calls sun showers, kitsune no yomeiri, the fox’s wedding. Many other cultures around the world see it as a kind of unification in nature, often alluding to some kind of marriage. There’s something so poetical about this. Dark and light become one, and if this kitsune no yomeiri happens later in the day, there may be a bright band of all visible colors refracted in the sky. It’s magical, light and water, bringing life to the land. On these kinds of days, I marvel at nature and how vast and remarkable the simplest systems are, yet we take for granted, if we aren’t mindful about it.