365 Names for Rain
by Greg Blanchette, Tofino
Eight days ago it pounded down a celebration: riotous, wild with corn-kernels of ice. Weather pranced like a girl with her hair out behind, laughing. But that girl hasn't looked back since.
Now in the window-glass my face looks gray, trying to remember other kinds of rain. Dreaming of Spring Mist so fine it was darn near holy -- stuff you went out special at night to watch floating in streetlight halos. Remembering that practical Water-the-Plants Cloudburst, those friendly Go-In-For-a-Snack Showers. Recalling the October Squall, come to town like travelling German opera, boom, bam, curtain going down on the last act with beams of sunshine, the whole chorus on stage for the finale.
But this stuff... eight unrelenting days of this stuff...! This is Matador Rain, waving gray capes of water in the air to enrage you. Gumboots, rain pants, slicker all useless as paper bags. Making a mockery of umbrellas, of Gore-Tex... of slipping, dripping sanity itself. Ole, sucker, and a roar goes up from the whole damn town.
Bouncing-Off-The-Pavement Rain. Those bawling, bastard Rain quintuplets, what are they called again? Nonstop, Horizontal, Effing... who can remember them all?
Six steps to the kitchen counter, six back to the window. Peer outside. Sigh. Repeat.
Summer showers, those are a punchline, a lark, something to go outside and twirl in. June, July, "Fogust"... just a bunch of light-fingered, sun-stealing punks. Harmless. Bike out to the lake, the little hoodlums won't catch you there.
But this! Man, I'm telling you, this is Judge-and-Jury Rain. Hanging Rain. Look at Lone Cone out there, half
the cursed mountain gone, beheaded by Attila the Low. The World Wide Weep offering no succour, dishing out satellite pics one big gray smear from here to the gulags of Kamchatka.
Hard Time Rain. Cruel and Unusual Rain. Don't-Forget-Who's-Boss Rain. This is burly, bald-headed Bad Cop Rain, sneering as he locks you up. Swallows the key, makes sure you see him doing it.
Asylum Rain. Eight days ...think about it: What if it just doesn't stop? Forever Rain. It could happen, you know. Out here, it really could.
Greg Blanchette grapples with Seasonal Affective Disorder in Ucluelet, Tofino, and points between. He has endured (if not embraced) winter on the coast since a record-setting February in 1999.