on a rainy day like this one, all I want to do is stay inside, read, and write. what is it about the rain that makes me lean toward those activities?
it’s not that I won’t go out in the rain. I have a raincoat, rain boots, and an umbrella, and it’s never bothered me to be rained on, especially if I have my contacts in. when the weather is warm, I actually like being rained on if it’s a light rain (though over the last few years we seem to only get heavy rain).
armed with rain gear, what is it about rain that makes me want to stay indoors?
for dogs, some of their aversion to the rain might be due to thunderstorm phobias. is there some hidden element of human dna that shares that trait? I personally love thunderstorms, though i’m not keen on being out in the open when they occur.
admittedly, in torrential rain, I sometimes find myself listening extra hard for a rumble or checking around me for areas to avoid if they might be attractive conductors for lightning. but I don’t scurry inside and hide behind the toilet (our old husky used to try to do this, even though he could only fit his face back there; I guess he figured if he couldn’t see the lightning, it couldn’t see him).
if i’m going to stay inside during a rain storm, i’ve got to have something to do. but why not practice piano? binge something on Netflix? play video games? make artisan books? I do those things too, but there’s something about the rain that makes me want to read.
there are countless blog posts out there about great books to enjoy on a rainy day. is this something we’re trained to enjoy? is it perhaps tied to a biological thunderstorm phobia?
when it rains, there’s a greater chance of power outages. this year especially, trees falling—at least around here—have been a huge concern. but I don’t remember that being as significant a risk when I was growing up, unless there was a hurricane on its way north.
so what about the rain makes me turn specifically to reading when I could do so many other things? I think it’s the rhythmic nature of it. rainfall has a certain tempo, as does reading. while I also read on sunny days, I think i’m drawn to it especially on rainy days because the rhythm of the rain matches the rhythm of reading.
so now i’m inside, and maybe i’ve read a little. but rainy days also make me want to write, and I don’t think it’s for the same reason I enjoy cracking open a book when it pours. after all, writing is full of bursts and stops, so it doesn’t have that rhythm.
perhaps i’m counting on some deep-seated biological wariness of potential thunderstorms to keep people from wanting to leave their own houses, therefore my day can be freer from distraction and thus more productive for getting some pages out. but I don’t think that’s it.
there’s something about the rain that awakens the imagination. This blog references a study that says the rain provides the right decibel level of ambient noise to spark creativity. here’s the thing with that idea: I don’t feel the same writing as when I listen to a sound app with rain, which the blog suggests. i’ve tested it.
this isn’t to say that doesn’t work for some people, or many people. but for me, there’s something about the real rain outside my window that allows my imagination to reach farther than it can on a sunny day. maybe my brain knows the sound app is fake so it doesn’t allow for the same effect.
are you a pluviophile?
pluviophiles are people who love the rain. i’ve considered myself one ever since I first heard the word in high school. it’s still a fairly new term though, new enough that it doesn't appear on the online etymology dictionary (though its parts, pluvio and philia, do).
i’d love to know what the rain means to you. do you read more when it’s raining? if you’re a writer or creator of some sort, does the rain make you feel more focused, more imaginative? if so, why do you think that is? are you a psychology person and you have some knowledge about a part of the brain that responds positively to rain? or can you confirm my theory that maybe, despite loving them from indoors, we are just like our four-legged friends and we’re still scared of thunderstorms?