I still remember the days when I was younger; days when I still attended kindergarten lessons and when I first tasted the rain. Back in those days, time stood still, for it was out of our minds; instead replaced with the ever present thoughts after mealtimes and games. It was a time of happy memories, and a time when things were a lot simpler. Everything was perfect in the kingdom of ours; safe, protected; sheltered. Kids would go on to their napping rooms while others took their first lessons on numbers or memorised their first words. It was a perfect world then, in our limited view of it. Perhaps that is the key to seeing the perfect in everything: we just need to focus on seeing the smaller pictures.
So it was in our limited view of things that we continued about on our stubby feet; oblivious till the rain came like a siege to a city.
“Rain rain go away! Come again another day!” We would chant with our cluttered words, commanding the rain to stop with no avail. It was a simple act, but we had faith it would work; not because we knew for certain that it would work, but because we didn’t know for certain that it didn’t. Such was the faith when we were younger. With unquestioning faith, we tried forking lightning; and with innocent words, we tried stilling thunder. Now of course, we know the rain did and could not have gone away no matter how hard we sang our little chant. Our words forked no lightning, our faith silenced no thunder.
The rain used to hide and mean one thing to me: the potential-big-booms-that-might-scare-the-living-daylight-out-of-me should I not expect them. Who am I kidding though? No matter how much I tried to anticipate the thunder, I would still feel currents of electricity rip down my spine whenever the thunder boomed, as if to remind me of the lightning that came before it.
However, as I grew older, and began to understand the natural phenomenon of how lightning and subsequently, thunder, occurs, the once mystical force of my childhood days seem to only have faded. It was but a facade, a memory of my fears.
So even as I look out of the window sill and past the blinds to stare out into the rain, I am now unafraid. Unafraid of the force that would leave me cowering with hands to my ears and lids over my eyes when I was younger. Instead, of feeling fear, I feel an unexplainable sense of relief and an ever growing sense of appreciation for the rain. Is it normal to feel relieved to see the rain? To feel a sense of gratitude towards the rain and to feel a sense of relief that is like a rubber band snapping back into place – a sigh of relief?
I try to answer these questions with what I have learnt from my past. The things that I learnt from that song all those years back still rings my head now; and the negative connotations that commonly associated with it, are still engrained in my mind. I was once taught to fear the rain, to fear the things that I couldn’t control. Even after all these years of technological advancement, humans have yet to still tame the climate. I bought into their teachings, teachings that I’m sure, were for my good so as to keep me safe. So why do I now feel a draw to the rain? Why do I feel so drawn to eminent danger?
The rain is not all that harmful in some senses and thus not so dangerous. It showers plants with the water needed to grow and flourish; it fills the streams and reservoirs needed to sustain communities. Should it not be for the rain, water that we drink from flowing rivers and draw from wells would not be possible. The crops we eat, those all rely on the rain too.
So perhaps I am not crazy to say that I feel a sense of relief and appreciation when it rains after all. I mean, farmers feel the same thing during the harvests dont they? The rain is a beautiful thing. Water goes up and water comes back down – the system all works. It is a natural cycle to sustain the natural world, like cogs in a machine, turning the wheel of life. Something part of nature, that not even humans can touch or dream to replicate. It is all beautiful, and I guess no one can really fault someone for feeling relieved at the sight of beauty.
However, these are not the reasons why I find myself wanting more of the rain. No, I am drawn towards the rain instead by something else. I am drawn towards the rain, by the atmosphere that it brings. Yes, I am drawn to the rain by that.
The dull tangy feeling of wetness and warmth; the smell of wet grass and earth that hovers in the air – petrichor. This is what I loved and continue to love the rain for. It reminds me of how I feel sometimes; the mood that hangs in my head. It reminds me how I am not alone in my thoughts whenever I’m feeling down: brewing and stirring just as the storm churns. In unexpected ways, the rain is as welcoming to me as the a sunny day might be. Sometimes, even more.
So here I am now writing to you, rain. Here to tell you that you are not alone and I understand how you feel. Sometimes, I wish I could just pour everything away too. Sometimes, I wish I could scream it all out, with flashes of light and with rolls of thunder.
Yours Sincerely, Ka Wai