Lately, it’s been scarce but emphatic. It fell for five minutes Saturday morning, hammering the roof of my car as I drove to campus. Pedestrians panicked. A woman’s umbrella inverted. She wrestled with it in the rain instead of stepping under a nearby awning. Others held shopping bags over their heads, and paper coffee cups sailed down the gutter. Joggers ran faster.
G.K. Chesterton loved rain and his wife hated it. With her cousin, Chesterton founded the Society for the Encouragement of Rain. His biographer, Ian Ker, reports:
“Meetings were to take place on Salisbury Plain under the sign of an umbrella, at which members would be served coffee and cakes under the rain.”
Ever playful, like a happy child, and always grateful for the world’s gifts, Chesterton writes in an 1895 letter quoted by Ker:
“I have just been out and got soaking and dripping wet; one of my favorite dissipations. I never enjoy weather so much as when it is driving, drenching, rattling, washing rain….Yes, I like rain. It means some thing, I am not sure what; some thing freshening cleaning, washing out, taking in hand, not caring-a-damn-what-you-think, doing-it-duty, robust, noisy, moral, wet.”
In the parking lot, I watched a blue jay in a puddle taking an enthusiastic, all-over bath.