On Rain (London, England)

Wandsworth Common: my way home, dusk, drizzle, street-lamp : 5 July 2011

Rain didn't used to seem such a burden; when we were younger, rainy days were full of scenes reminiscent of a Shirley Hughes illustration, yellow raincoats, wellingtons, plenty of sloshes and galoshes. The romanticism fades as the pragmatic takes over: a corner in Soho two years ago, in completely inappropriate footwear (I actually stopped by Topshop to pick up some new sneakers), crowds of students, tourists, businessmen, indifferent middle-management types, all edging beneath a shop veranda or hovering around the entrance of a vibrantly lit, unobtrusively booming music megastore, we're simultaneously forced to press pause, bring things to a halt, pause for the weather. Wait, unknowing. Curses, telephone calls, stamping of feet, allowing water to pour off bags and belongings and drizzle into fluorescent fuzzy streams towards grates and drains. After a rather decent run of several warm (hot!) days back-to-back, the humidity eases, and summer showers have reappeared to stake their place amongst the Barbecue Summers and the Boden and M&S picnics, tartan rugs.

Most people I know wouldn't turn down an opportunity to lie in the sun, lather on the cream, and enjoy a good novel or two. Sounds pretty all right to me. But to be fair, let's give rain another chance, or least not berate it. I say this having come through to the other side of course: tucked up, a lamp-lit room, curtains half-drawn, book spine-upwards (sorry mum!) on the pillow. Me in here, rain out there, just the way it should be. The book allows me to experience through a voluntary mindful displacement, other countries, continents, climates. I indulge in the loss of the British weather momentarily in my minds eye. But I can only experience one in the knowledge of the other: I like the contrast, I need to live in a place where seasons matter. Rain can bring back that childlike memory of not caring and not needing to, the spontaneity and all the lovely messiness that comes with it. Rain happens, get used to it. But pack an umbrella. 

{all photos by me}

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