Sunday, 21 June 2015

Meterology (Are you a winter person?).

Here in Melbourne, we're in the misty, chilly, rainy, cloudy, dark depths of winter 2015. And I love it.

Now, I know I’m in the minority, but there’s something about winter that makes me happy. While other people hibernate, complain about the cold, and become sluggish and sick, I feel energised, refreshed and joyful. With the cool weather and first decent rainfall, my mood instantly lifts and excitement blooms.  

A perfunctory glance into my wardrobe – overflowing with boots, scarves, shawls, ponchos, wooly jumpers, coats, beanies, gloves, woolen socks and tights – will attest to my penchant for the cold. But I think my affection for winter really comes down to the rain it brings. 

Like Blind Melon, I love rain. Big, fat, heavy drops that drum hard on your skin. And the fine mist that gathers in your hair, forming droplets that eventually roll down your forehead, around your eyebrows and onto your cheeks, soaking you right through if you stay out in it long enough. 

In the Amazon on honeymoon a couple of years ago, I went swimming in a lake full of piranhas and Cayman crocodiles. It was hot and humid when the storm hit. Everyone else rushed to shore, while I loitered in the water, watching the raindrops pepper the lake around me, feeling them bounce off my scalp and face. I paddled slowly, quietly, on my back, at peace but exhilarated as the rain fell on and all around me. 

My boy watched from the shore, ever vigilant and protective, urging me to come in. It was only when the thunder started, and I felt my heart start to race and the adrenalin rush as the storm grew closer, that I reluctantly climbed up the wooden ladder on the pier, wrapped myself in a towel and hurried back to our cabin. There I lay on the bed, listening to the rain drum on the roof. 

That day saw what I consider to be two of life’s perfect, peaceful moments: 

1.     swimming in the rain (being in the middle of the Amazon jungle is preferable, but a local pool, ocean or river will suffice at a pinch)
2.     listening to the rain dance on the roof, while you’re rugged up, dry and warm indoors.

Who doesn’t love doing at least one of those things?

Rain feels a little magical to me. It has the power to wash things away – physical things, like dust, dirt, factory fumes and heat, as well as emotions, like anger, sadness, frustration, optimism and joy (depending on your perspective). It can be a physical, mental and emotional cleanser, if you like. It can bring change, renewal, growth, and a time for quiet, stillness and reflection. (Of course, these things are only enhanced by a wee dram of whisky, the perfect wintery, rainy tipple.)

When the rain stops, the air feels energised, clean and clear. The atmosphere feels charged, full of possibility. Everything seems fresh and new.

Everything also smells different during and after rain. In summer, it’s a heady scent of grass, eucalyptus trees and pollen, warm and humid. In winter, it’s a thick earthiness, cool and wet, with a trace of lavender and rosemary (in my garden, anyway). 

Rain is welcomed in the Dry and drought, and sometimes cursed in the Wet or during winter onslaughts. Sadly, our house has flooded – and still leaks sometimes – in particularly nasty storms. But rain also nourishes our garden, the herbs, vegetables, flowers, fruit trees and grass, and provides the water we drink and wash and play in. As we have (hopefully) learned from years of water restrictions and drought, rain is vital.

For all of these reasons, I wholeheartedly welcome winter, rain and the opportunity they bring to break out my and Little Red's gumboots and find some big puddles to jump in.

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