Tag Archives: rain

Rain is a many splendored thing

1In Vancouver, rain can change in a single moment. In one day, it can require a full suit of wet weather gear, then a light jacket, then an umbrella and knee high boots, then the ability to laugh at the few drops that hit the street. The sky can be a brutal grey bruise against the mountains, a pure white overcast where I can almost imagine the sun hiding behind it, or a blue sky scattered with clouds.

The moisture from each of those skies is different.

We live with rain in Vancouver. It doesn’t matter what season it is – we have precipitation to suit every month of the year.

Summer rain can roar through the city, moving from the ocean to the mountains in a single raging downpour, leaving foot high puddles in its wake, and all of us laughing with joy at the experience. We can go a week or two, sometimes even three, without a single drop of rain and all of us scared to speak of the lack, believing our words might bring it back.

Autumn is the season of surprise rain. It shifts from sun to shadow in the space of a commercial break. It rips leaves from trees and blocks drains. Cars race through the puddles and soak passersby at each corner. Walking to work is an adventure, wielding an umbrella like a defensive shield.

Winter is autumn amplified and because it’s cold, we add sleet to the mix. It might snow in Vancouver, then the next day it’ll melt, leaving lakes of messy, cold half-rain, half-sleet at every corner. On those days, waist-high waders or a sick day phone call are the only possible answers to the walk to work.

And then there’s the soft, sweet rain of the spring. It’s easy to use that phrase in December – the spring deluge is months away. But that deluge brings early blossoms – Japanese cherry blossoms always the earliest harbinger in January, then the tiny green shoots of crocus, the tall spears of daffodils and tulips, the soft yellow fuzz on the willow trees.

When you live in Vancouver, you learn to enjoy the rain, to buy a new umbrella whenever you see one on sale, because for sure you’ve left your umbrella somewhere you aren’t. Raincoats become fashion statements, and I’m willing to bet that few other cities can sell such a variety of boots.

Rain. Rain. Splendid rain.



Stupid rain, stupid shoes, stupid snake

A number of years ago, a group of friends and I headed out to a Harvest ritual put on by the same coven which hosts the Victorian Tea. It had been pouring rain all day and with the fallen leaves clogging the sewer drains some of the streets had deep puddles in places. Our daring (and not very bright) driver decided that, instead of finding an alternate route, he was going to plow through a road-spanning puddle of unknown depth at full speed.

As I’m sure you’ve all already guessed, we got halfway through the puddle when the minivan stalled. Thankfully, we had just left our meeting place, so it was decided we’d simply walk back there and take somebody else’s vehicle. Now picture this – half a dozen people all dressed up in their ritual finery trying to clamber out of a minivan that’s sitting in the middle of a puddle that is so deep the water is almost coming into the seating area. It wasn’t fun, let me tell you.

We change vehicles (and drivers) and head back on our merry (if fairly damp and kind of cranky) way. The entire way up we were forced to listen to our previous driver whine and complain about how wet his shoes were. By the time we reached The Farm we were all dryer, but quite a bit more cranky.

The Farm was muddy and wet, but the company was excellent and the food was, as always, excellent so we didn’t mind so much. Then, the ritual started and we were faced with this giant snake made from hay bales. A snake we were meant to lift above our heads and undulate as if it were a real snake. A hay bale snake that had gotten rained on and was sopping wet. So, here we are waving this giant, wet snake around in the air and getting dripped on by it and having bits of wet, itchy hay fall into our hair and faces. It was… not fun.

At the end of the night, our erstwhile driver summed everything up perfectly by uttering these words: “Stupid rain, stupid shoes, stupid snake.”