Rain, emotions & my 63 seasons

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 19, 2015 – 12:00am

It’s raining as I write this. It is a pretty strong rain. There is a wall of sound of rain everywhere as water hits my roof. The impact of falling droplets on my tin roof is causing a droning white noise that dulls my hearing. But it also excites me. I don’t mind rain because I am comforted by the thought that the rain will not enter my house. In fact, I generally like it.

Rain means many things to everyone. People feel differently about it.

To some, it may be a feeling of fear of losing one’s property and belongings. I can imagine people in places prone to massive flooding. They can get quite anxious during the rainy season. They constantly worry if or when the rains will cause flooding inside their homes.

The rains brought on by tropical storms, especially during the past 10 years have caused considerable fear among many residents of Metro Manila and in many provinces. Global warming has changed things. Massive flooding along roads and major thoroughfares, overflowing waterways such as rivers, lakes, canals and anywhere water can gather now cause extreme anxiety among people living in low lying areas. For them, rains bring more damage than benefits.

Rain, for many has a rather sad and bad connotation. Unlike sunshine which suggests happiness, rain is gloomy. Where rain clouds are dark and foreboding, sunshine is positive and happy. Poets, writers talk of rain like tears, or rainy weather to describe the sadness in their hearts, or the soulful suffering of being left out in the rain. Rain is cold, damp and lonely. Sunshine is nice and warm.

I have gone through 63 rainy seasons. Luckily for the most part, my experiences of rain and the whole wet season every year in the Philippines have been mostly positive. As a young boy, I loved watching the rain from the huge windows we had at home. When I am in a high place, I would stare out into the streets for long periods mesmerized by this natural phenomenon. I also liked watching people scurry about as they avoid getting wet.
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When it rains, I imagine the earth’s water supply being replenished, its plants refreshed, and the air renewed, washed away of all the pollution man has put on it. I generally feel good when it rains.

Even when I see excessive rain that brings flooding and destruction, as much as I feel and empathize with the great suffering of many unfortunate people who live in low neighborhoods, I am fascinated by its sheer power and its great effect over everything.

Rain is atmospheric. It defines everything. It can seem like it is raining everywhere you look and as far as the eye can see. It can be all encompassing. It can’t help but affect you one way or the other. And this is why everyone has some emotional response to it.

Simply put, rain reigns!

And as a writer, I do understand rain as a metaphor for sadness, destruction, calamity, etc. But rain can also suggest joyousness, cleansing, the feeling of being refreshed, romance, lightness of spirit, etc.

During my last trip to Coron, I had a moment with rain that I will remember for life. I was with friends off a boat on the water lazily floating in the ocean wearing inflatable devices on a dark, muggy day. We were talking about the beauty around us — the majestic limestone mountains with lush greenery, the pristine waters. We could see monkeys amid the foliage and exotic birds flying by. It was jaw-dropping. In the midst of our conversation, heavy rain suddenly fell. The droplets were quite big as it showered down on us with great force.

More than anything, it felt like generosity and abundance were pouring on us. There we were floating on the ocean laughing like children as strong rain fell. It was beautiful and crazy. We were ecstatic. We laughed, cheered and shouted in awe. What a celebration. It was an unforgettable, awesome moment.

What a privilege it felt being vulnerable and completely rained down. We felt blest. We felt refreshed and giddy. We were God’s children playing in God’s kingdom and being witness to Her many miracles which we would normally miss out on or even enjoy. In ordinary circumstances, we would even shun and avoid rain. But here we were totally sucking it in, embracing it.

These days, everyone is talking about the weather. To me, rain is a brave and confident artist. I agree with whoever it was who observed that rain is oblivious to whatever its critics say.

Many songs have been written about rain. There are those that speak of raining in one’s heart. People sing of crying in the rain, or being alone and pitifully standing in the pouring rain. There is a song that urges you to walk through the storm with your head up high. There is also one that triumphantly brags about making it through the rain.

While I like many songs that are of this theme, my general disposition inclines me to celebrate rain more than cry over it. It’s just the way I am.

Someone once sang that he can never stop the rain by complaining. Good observation. As for myself, I am happy to hear laughter in the rain.

So when it pours, I’d rather count the pennies from heaven as I sing in the rain. What a glorious feeling! I don’t look for the sun since it is already in my heart!

2 thoughts on “Rain, emotions & my 63 seasons”

  1. Dear Sir,

    I am also very fond of rain. I totally agree with your observation that it can be a metaphor for cleansing and being blessed. Yesterday I read a piece about the rain from Mr. Neil Cruz, of the Inquirer and it was just as thought provoking as this one you wrote. Both your writing are sensitively done and transforming. I could almost be at your side when you were somewhere observing the rain from afar. I could almost smell the earth giving out a pleasing scent at the touch of raindrops. These are actually unforgettable sense-memories from my childhood. I grew up in Navotas where it gets flooded at the slightest storm. And yes, I love your timeless song Pumapatak ang Ulan and I have no doubt when you say how much you love the rain because otherwise you would not have been inspired enough to create such beautiful and unforgettable song. I had watched some of your Eto na po sila concert and I marvel at how fast time flies… I just wish you all the best sir and may you and your family enjoy good health and enduring happiness…. Salamat po sir…

  2. You are right Jim. Rain could be a metaphor to sadness, destruction, calamity, as it was to me during my rain-related struggles. However, rain still brings me incomparable joy—nature’s way of saying, “Hey, God is here, and He wants you to feel His presence.”

    FYI, there’s gentle rain just now. It could have felt how I’m appreciative of it. And in my almost 42 years of existence, I still love bathing in the rain!

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