Metro, Column

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

The past week has heralded the glorious dawn of spring in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Students in shorts and T-shirts lounged on the shockingly green grasses of middle campus, professors held class outside, women in large skirts spun in circles singing about hills being alive, the people were happy.

And then there was me.

Squinting into the sun, sweat dripping down the back of my T-shirt, I scowled at all the happiness around me.

“Hey Archer, how’s it going? Isn’t it just beautiful outside?” These greetings plagued my day.

“You shut your face right now,” I would respond. “There are too many people around, too much sun, too much positivity. Do I look like a flower child to you? These good vibes are killing me.”

These remarks were usually met with confusion or anger. No one seemed to understand my point of view. So I have decided to write my point of view down here, no matter how wrong or unnecessary it may be.

My preferred state of weather has always been a cool, rainy day. A dark, cloudy sky, a light wind, and water coating the world around me.

My Great-Uncle Jerry had the nose of a bloodhound. He could always smell the rain 14 hours before it arrived. He would step out onto the porch and sniff loudly at the air, his head cocked back and his eyes squinted skyward. Then he would walk back inside and speak to me in a southern accent.

“I can smell it in the air, Jeremiah. Smells like smoke, fire, logwoods. You best roll up them pantaloons, there’s a storm coming.”

I did not question Great-Uncle Jerry’s sudden use of a southern accent, or his use of the word pantaloons. It was always best not to question Great-Uncle Jerry.

“I know,” I would say, “I just got the alert on my phone.”

Great-Uncle Jerry would snort derisively, “Phone? You checked on your phone? Harold, you little idiot.”

He would then jam his index finger two knuckles deep into his left nostril and say, “This is my phone.”

The memories still bring a bittersweet twinge to my little heart. Rain was always something I strangely looked forward to. While most people wake up to the dark skies and the wet roads and wish the sun was shining, I feel quite the opposite. The world seems better under the canvas of water that the rain brings. Everything glistens with a dull sheen, a light patter of water dripping down provides a comforting refrain.

It even smells better. When it’s sunny out I smell dog turds, sweat, and a desperate sort of failure. When it’s raining I smell growth, I smell something fresh and inexplicable. Ironically, it makes the whole day brighter.

A city is a great place to experience rain. Sitting in a train car, gazing out the window dramatically, is always considerably more meaningful when rain is falling outside. There are few things I love more than gazing out of a window at a rainy city and pretending there are deep thoughts running through my head.

“Wow, look at that guy, he must have some really deep thoughts running through his head,” the passerby’s whisper to each other. “I bet he reads long and complex novels such as 2666 by Roberto Bolano.”

After my window-gazing, I always enjoy meandering down the streets with my rain jacket around my shoulders. The streets run with a different sound, the rain breathing a new life into an old experience. As a Metro columnist, there’s nothing I love more than wandering, and rain always enhances the experience. The City of Boston changes and adapts with the weather, creating a new experience as you explore the streets.

I’ll be waiting excitedly for the upcoming spring rains, but for now I’m learning to appreciate the sun, despite my natural inclinations toward bitterness and anger. Maybe, I’ll even spend some prolonged time in the sun this week. After all, it’ll only be here for so long.

If you’re searching for a lesson in this column, you’re definitely looking in the wrong place, but maybe I can offer this: Weather is amazing, it changes our surroundings every day and offers us new perspectives of the world around us. Take advantage of this.

Enjoy the sun for now, if you really want to. But just know that soon enough rain will start falling, and on that day, Archer will emerge from his cave and traverse the world, wonder in his eyes.

And when that happens, I encourage you not to complain about the rain and the damp, but to embrace it, to revel in it.

Featured Image by Francisco Ruela / Heights Graphic

April 22, 2015