Rain just one component
of a perfect reading day
Monday, June 03, 2013 3:44 AM
The incessant rain this past week has called back many memories and feelings I have associated with it throughout my life. It's certainly been a disruption to the local agriculture industry, and for that I can add my voice to the many others who are wishing it would let up. However, I have always maintained a certain fondness for rain. It's been a source of comfort, although not so much when I've ridden roller coasters through it.
Rainy days during my childhood meant I would get more time to discover the mysteries of the Hardy Boys or the magic of Harry Potter. I would turn on a lamp that probably didn't provide enough light and try to jam myself as far into the corner of a sofa as I could. With book in hand, I would crack it open and feel the adventure rush toward me.
For some reason, the damp and dreary environment outside could enhance my perception of what was occurring inside the covers. My parents would also find me huddled by a window that reached to the floor. Using the natural lighting, I would lie on the floor until I became too uncomfortable. If I was really interested in a book, it would be an hour before I realized my arms were going numb.
Related to this love of reading when it was raining was this desire of mine to have a library in my future home. Of course, this wouldn't be just any library. This library would have reading nooks in windowsills. The windows themselves couldn't be ordinary as well. These would need to include a combination of smoked and normal glass. The pieces of glass would need to be put together within a metal latticework. Whenever I think of old libraries with cozy reading areas, this is what comes to mind. Today, I'm not so sure this would be the most practical idea for a future house, but I wasn't worrying about that when I was little.
Beside causing me to think about library architecture and reading during a dark and stormy night, rain also causes me to think about basements. The basement in the first house I lived in was peculiar. It wasn't finished so the exposed studs were masked by art projects my sisters had completed and posters of wildlife. If that wasn't enough to keep the mind interested, the carpet was pink. Good thing the lighting was subdued. Beneath the thin carpet was the cold concrete. One wall was covered in canned goods; the other in shelving filled with toys and a record-player stereo system. I was not to touch the record-player, but it was always enjoyable to turn on the radio and listen to the Twins game while the thunder rolled overhead.
Storms were always cathartic. The anxiety over an approaching storm and the tension I felt during one was always relieved through the gentle pattering of droplets on the roof and the muted rumble of thunder in the distance. No matter how loud the thunder was during the storm, I always looked forward to falling asleep to it and the rain splashing softly outside my opened window. Then my mom would come into my room, shut the window, and tell me keep it closed while it was raining.
For some reason, that causes me to remember one time when the rain was pouring down so much, I could hardly see the end of our short driveway. My family and I were eating dinner and the front door was wide open. Our screen door was closed, but the cool wind was coming through one of the screens. After a particularly bright flash of lightning, a shotgun went off in my brain. I believe the door was closed after that.
The rainstorms would always bring with them static and sirens from the radio as muffled voices would tell us just how much longer we would have to deal with it. Soon after the rain would start, there would be great commotion in our house as my mother ran outside to save the laundry. Then my dad would come home and report on all the erosion taking place throughout the farm. Some things never change.
The kind of music I enjoyed listening to changed when it rained. For example, Sting was perfect rainy day music. Perhaps that was because of "Desert Rose". Actually, Sting is great for all times and seasons.
So if it is still raining when you read this, find a good book, open up a window, or turn up some Sting. You could even do all three. Now the only thing missing is the proper window.