Hay’s Daze: Rain is both a friend and an enemy

“Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day.”

Maybe you’ve been humming that little nursery rhyme ditty once in a while lately.

Or maybe you’re more melancholy, like Woody Allen, who said in one of his movies: “I love the rain. It washes memories off the sidewalk of life.”

I like that quote, and I make a point of repeating it, out loud, dramatically, whenever it rains. Drives the Rotten Kids nuts.

I guess I lean a little more to the maudlin than mad when it comes to a bit of rain. Note, I said a “bit of rain.”

Like most people, I heartily avoid situations of “deluge” and “torrent” and other conditions where Mother Nature flexes her anger muscles by spitting down upon us.

But a nice sad rain can be cathartic. Like when the one you thought was the love of your life breaks your fragile teenage heart in two, a good rain provides encouragement for shameless wallowing.

On the other hand, I got nailed hard by the rain so many times as a young punk, back when I practically lived on my motorbike. When the rains hit, I always seemed to be a whole lot farther away from home than I thought I was.

I’d splash and rattle into the yard, slide off my slippery Honda 50 Sport before it even stopped moving and burst in the back door, a drowned water rat in a motorcycle helmet, dripping all over Mom’s perpetually spotless kitchen.

And it’s not so fun when the rain spoils three soccer games in a row, or the picnic you planned for three weeks, or that wedding you planned for three years.

But as Winnie the Pooh once said: “When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles.”

So in the spirit of pure Pooh, when rain leaves little lakes, I always think of a particularly awesome rainy day down at Barrett Park.

In spite of the mud and deep puddles, we took our little kids and Shirpa the dog for our regular walk. The Rotten Kid, the son one, immediately ran into a puddle up to his knees and started joyfully thrashing around. And when we helped him take off his tall rubber boots on dry land, we poured out about 10 gallons (45 litres) of puddle. He was thrilled.

I had my Sony Handicam that day (long before they invented cameras on phones, and phones that weren’t plugged into the walls), and have the whole thing on videotape. Thank you, rain.

I also clearly remember the day many years ago, not long before our son was born, when my dearly loved Dad passed away after a lengthy stay in the hospital.

That evening it rained, and I went outside and walked and walked and sat on a bench alone in the rain in the dark for a very long time. I was soaked. I needed the rain that night.

It’s uncanny how the weather affects our moods, and how our moods affect how we react to the weather.

Like the time I was making a movie, where a car and a truck were set to crash into each other. It was on a dark road on a dark night involving dozens of people in a complicated and intense scene.

I was flapping around getting everyone ready for “Action,” when one of the crew came up and said: “Do you want to wait until the rain stops?”

“What rain?” I said.

It had been pouring for 15 minutes and I hadn’t even noticed.

Sometimes, you hate the rain. Sometimes, you don’t even notice it. And sometimes, it’s simply welcome. Or, as the saying goes: “Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.”

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

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