Thoughts for a rainy day

I see the world in blues and greys. I don't know how else to describe it. It's beautiful to me that way.

I was taken from the rich, wet Jory soil of Oregon's Willamette Valley. One day, sooner than I'd prefer maybe, my ashes will return to some crumbly stretch of soil but, until then, my red dirt soul unfolds under soft, wet skies.

My grandmother told one joke I remember, a common quip locals would tell: "How do you predict the weather in Oregon? If you can see Mt Hood it's going to rain and if you can't see Mt Hood it's already raining."

If you love rain like I do then you probably understand what I mean by blue and grey. It's as if we see things by the light of the sky rather than the sun; sometimes blue and clear, sometimes grey and sonorous with rainfall. A photographer told me once that the ambient light of the sky when the sun shines sideways at dawn or dusk brings out the nuance and richness in everything. Dawn and dusk to me are moments of beautiful melancholy that shed a richer light on the events of the day, the week, the life.

Most people I know tend to be sun lovers. They're energized by daylight and activity and would be happy enough never to see a rainy day again. They're fun to be around in doses and, at times, I envy their simple eyes. Sun lovers aren't all shallow minds but to tell one that you love rainy days invites an are-you-crazy strong enough to banish weaker hearts to the Island of Misfit Toys.

To be candid, we rain lovers see sunshine lovers as simple, binary people: on-off, good-bad, light-dark, sun-rain, happy-sad. We can't help but feel far more interesting because we're more in touch with things like nuance, metaphor, and the beauty of melancholy.  We are brunettes to your blondes, cat owners to your dog owners… and, I'm starting a fight I don't want to finish so let's move on.

Whichever you are you can admit there is something deeply soothing to the primal animal within each of us about the sound of rain falling. I imagine that in the animal kingdom, predator and prey alike rest reverently during a good rain in recognition of, if not a prayer to, a greater power and an acknowledgment of a deep, common connection. Something about it makes it feel to me as if our whole beings – spirit, mind and flesh – are inseparably woven into the same tapestry with threads that bind us at unfathomable depths.

Rain is not always a metaphor for sadness. Jesus said once that the Father, "makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." In the agrarian culture which first heard it, rain was a blessing. It grew your crops. In other words, God blesses and he blesses. His provision is often nondiscriminatory so don't be surprised when unjust people prosper. You might be upset by the grace God shows to people who hurt and hate you. Expect it. Accept it. Like the melancholy light of dusk, it sheds a richer light on his deep mercy and reveals him as even more trustworthy – more faithful.

Of course, rain is no good without the sun. It takes both to grow forests ancient and mighty in places like Oregon. Too much or too little of anything spoils it, they say. Today though, on a soft, wet Northern California day, I'm enjoying a soothing break from the sun – the relentless mistress of summer who repels rain for months on end.

“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.” – traditional Gaelic blessing