The Rhythm of the Rain – Gord Turner

A column from bi-weekly Castlegar News columnist and city councillor and retired college teacher Gord Turner.

This Spring and Summer we’ve had more than our fair share of rain. Sure, we’ve been able to golf and to work in our yards, but we’re always doing so in a bit of drizzle or a minor rain shower.  This year, my sense is we’ve had six days of rain to one day of sunshine.

A number of my friends tell me they like the sound of the falling rain—as long as it doesn’t rain heavily.  In fact, one friend said it reminded him of a song from 1963 by the Cascades. It begins with the line “Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain.” True, there is a calming effect to the patter of raindrops blowing soft upon the window.

But wait a minute now.  The Cascades’ song goes on to say, “Telling what a fool I’ve been.”  In fact, most songs dealing with rain have a melancholy air about them—something sad has happened, or the rain is a counterpoint to the human feeling of loss or tragedy.

I, too, have enjoyed the rhythm of the falling rain.  When it’s raining lightly day or late evening, I sit on my deck under the overhang and simply enjoy the smell of new rain on dry surfaces.  There’s something comforting about being sheltered with the rain freshening things just beyond one’s reach.

However, I’m not one for getting out and walking in the rain.  True, I will often try to finish a golf game in the rain. Other times, I will insist on golfing even though dark clouds are in the sky or the rain has already come.  I don’t mind walking after the rain storm has passed as wet feet are not a problem.

The first line of a Johnny Ray song begins as follows:  “Just a walking in the rain.” It, too, is a sad song as getting wet in the rain suits his mood.  He has lost his lover and is thinking about all the good times they had, even though he knows human relationships do change. As do the gentle rhythms of the rain.

In the early morning of July 14th, the rain came in a blast. There’s no other way to describe it. It simply pelted our roofs and slammed the good earth.  You couldn’t write a song about this type of rainstorm because it slashed our community viciously with a huge wind storm accompanying it.

The only similarity to the songs about rain is that sadness followed.  Many people had their basements flooded and their landscapes scarred.  This, too, had an effect on people’s hearts, but the hurt was the result of damage to property and to a feeling of being violated.

All summer long “raindrops kept falling on my head”, so I should have been ready for another gargantuan slam from the heavens.  But I thought that was it—that the Saturday morning storm was our one big one for a few years. So we cleaned up the first minor basement flood and then went off to the Okanagan to taste wines.

On Tuesday, July 17th, I was in Penticton, having come in from the heat and the sunshine when the phone rang.  My son informed me that another storm had hit and that my basement was flooded once again. Initially, I thought he was joking, but then he told me the storm was the worst he had ever seen.  A virtual river roared down 24th Avenue and right into our yard.

As the song says, “I think I’ll have to do some talking to the sun” because clearly I “don’t like the way he gets things done.”  I really don’t want any more raindrops for the rest of the summer—gentle or otherwise.