I must have been born on a rainy day.

And I’ve been stubborn about it ever since.

Some people wake up on rainy days and decide it might be better to go back to sleep. They see rain as an excuse to stay in the house and watch a movie or read a book or curl up under the covers and get a few extra hours of sleep. Nothing is wrong with that – I’ve done it a time or two myself. I’ve certainly needed those days of chilling, relaxing and letting things inside and out slow down a bit.

Yet, more often than not, I respond in a completely different matter. The truth is, I love rainy days – sometimes, more than I love the sunny ones.

I can sit on a bus or on a train or at work, sit in my car and listen to the radio – it doesn’t really matter where, but when it starts raining I hear more than one groan and often a couple of curses. People curse the rain because of how it limits them, ruins their day, cancels their fun.

And I laugh. I really do.

When I was seventeen, a senior in high school, I made my first international trip. It was to Ireland, an island with rocky coasts and lonely castles and verdant green hills. The country was in the middle of a month long drought when we arrived, yet, the first thing that struck me was how green everything looked. I was used to living in the countryside where the grassy hills and fields were green, but not as vibrantly green as what I saw in Ireland. It was a shock, because I realized there is a difference, one that goes unrecognized until I traveled to Ireland and saw what green was meant to be. The second day we were there it started to rain. It was the soft drizzly kind that seems to haze the air and generally soak everything all day in the deepest manner possible. That kind of rain will always remind me of Ireland. It is what I picture Irish weather to be, though that is probably only because it is all I have seen of Irish weather. It was a rainy week, but it was a perfect week. Our group capped it off with golf in the rain at an old castle north of Dublin. It was also my first time golfing.

A few years later, my travels took me to Japan, a land of rice and pleasantly polite people and ancient tradition. In the middle of June and through July they have something called the rainy season. And it is. It will often rain every day and hard enough so that even raincoats don’t seem to keep you dry. Umbrellas are carried in cars and by students and business men like Americans carry credit cards. You don’t leave home without it. Unless you want to get wet. If you are lucky, or unlucky depending on how you look at it, you might get to experience a typhoon. They are wonderful and rare acts of nature and God that whip rain horizontally. My umbrella flipped up more than once and I even saw it rain up, the wind was so strong. I liked to sit and watch during rainy season and during typhoons, occasionally taking my bike to the local grocery store to grab some goodies, more out of the desire to be in it, to be filled with awe and respect and wonder, than a need for food. The rain lets up eventually, but I was reminded of it every time I passed by the water logged rice fields or looked in the face of a Japanese and saw something of rain in their wide brown eyes.

Rain and romance are no stranger either, in history or in my life. I swear my first kiss came moments before it started to rain and if I’m blessed, perhaps my last kiss will come in rain as well. One afternoon that will always be a snapshot in my mind came in a Thai jungle. We had spent the afternoon white water rafting and the skies had been pesky all day. I didn’t mind and our elephant trekking tour continued without stopping. Later in the day we traveled high into the mountains where the rivers begin and then hiked even further until we came to hidden falls. The rain had sent half our party back to the vans, but I ventured further, shedding most of my clothes and wading into the cool mountain waters as the sky rained down. I persuaded the girl I was in love with to step on in, holding her hand as she clambered over the rocky stones as it rained from the falls and from the sky.

Rain is in my nature. I’ve never really seen it as an excuse to hide away. I’ve seen it as my chance to experience the rare and wonderful. On rainy days is when the the rare and wonderful shows up, or those with the spirit to make the rare and wonderful happen.

© Seth Crossman