But everywhere I go–the grocery store, post office, pharmacy etc– all people can seem to talk about is the “gloomy” or “dreary” or worse yet, “horrible day” that this kind of weather seems to provoke.
One thing I loved about my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail was my forced intimacy with nature. I didn’t watch the weather channel and then plan my day. I didn’t see a forecast of rain and decide not to hike. No matter what Mother Nature threw at me, I was sure to be outside, walking north, one step at a time.
Of course a lot of rainy days in a row got tiring. And in September and October, they could mean being constantly chilled. But there is something raw and powerful about being outside in all kinds of weather, exposed and intimate with it rather than fighting or cursing it.
For much of my hike, especially in the summer when rain in the afternoons was common, I came to revel in a rainy day, happy for the cooling water that poured over my body, soaking my clothes and my hair and offering a short respite from the heat. It was glorious! I sometimes splashed in puddles and sang happily as all around me the water poured down.
If you can see the good in rainy days, congratulations! If not, here are a few things that might change your mind.
7 Positive Things about Rainy Days
1. Rainy days = solitude. Because so many people associate rainy days with such negativity, the trails aren’t usually crowded. All of those places that you love so much but hate sharing with big crowds can suddenly be all yours! You can revel in your solitude, allowing yourself to BE in the moment without the distractions of other people breaking the silence.
2. Rainy days often give the forest a mystical quality. A cloak of fog sometimes spreads out along the ground, creating a fuzzy white backdrop for all of the dark tree trunks. At this time, the forest can be beautiful and can feel magical, like a fairy-land you have just happened upon.
3. Rainy days steal your footsteps so you can walk silently, erasing the sounds of crunching leaves or broken sticks. The silence means animals might not hear you coming as easily and you may approach closer than normal before they notice you. The possibility of seeing a wild animal creates an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation.
4. Some animals, like frogs, salamanders and turtles that you might not usually see actually COME OUT on rainy days! One rainy day while I was thru hiking in New York state I counted 112 red-spotted newts. Wow! This never would have been possible on a dry, sunny day.
6. Raindrops offer a unique music to those who listen. Raindrops often cling to every leaf, branch, petal, strand of silk, so that in all directions, you see spots of beauty. On some leaves the tiny beads of water collect and form patterns while on others the drops are repelled, running off and splashing below, a kind of music that has the potential to soothe your soul and make your heart smile.
7. Rain makes the flowers grow and who doesn’t love flowers?? This might be the best reason yet! Woo hoo rain makes the flowers grow!
I doubt I can ever change the way our society thinks of rainy days, but maybe I can convince one person that they are at least worth a second look. If you agree, maybe you can convince one person too and they can convince one person until many more people appreciate the beauty of a rainy day.
I leave you with a quote, by John Ruskin who said,
“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces you up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”
and one more,
Here’s hoping that you try dancing in the rain the next chance you get. Enjoy!!