Monday, July 14, 2014

The Coming of the Rains

The rains have come. We call it monsoon season. It means that even if there are hours in a day with broad sunlight, there are also hours with clouds upon clouds. And in the afternoon or evening, there is rain. Sometimes there is a patch of sky with the brightest summer sunlight, and deep dark clouds right beside it. Sometimes it's sunny while it's raining. Sometimes the sky pours out like an overturned bucket, so hard, so briefly, and then the sun comes back out and pretends like nothing happened.

It's raining now. The morning was half cloudy, around a hundred degrees, kinda nice out. At lunch, I saw the clouds gathering more solidly on the horizon. Now they are covering the sky in white-grey, the thunder is pounding, the trees are swaying in the wind, and the rain is falling at a thick and steady pace. I'm hoping the power doesn't go out. The power tends to go out almost daily during monsoon season. It's just a question of when and for how long.

I'm thinking of rain in fiction. In the badly animated version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that I grew up with, it's raining when the Pevensies are at the professor's house (well, it is in the book, too, but it's more visual in the movie). Rain there represents boredom--but also what drives them to try something new: playing indoors is what drives them all to the wardrobe and to Narnia.

In The Lion King, rain is the soothing cleansing that ushers in healing and a new day. Rain washes away the hurts of Scar's reign and feeds the plants so that everything can grow and blossom again. Because of rain, the land can turn lush once more and its people (or animals, as the case may be) can feel alive again.

But what if we combined both of these examples? Let's go to The Fellowship of the Ring. It is raining while the hobbits are staying at Tom Bombadil's house, and I think that rain always helped to enhance the dreamlike state of their time there. It's like the rain creates its own world that it encloses you into. (Goodness. There was just a very loud crack of thunder and this lightning is flashing like the lights at a pop rock concert. And that bolt looked like it was just a small walk from my window. It probably was.) The hobbits do find healing from this rain: it represents a period of rest from their journey. But it also has a quietness, like in the Narnia example--and it is also a kind of gateway. After passing Tom Bombadil's house, they reach Bree and the lands outside of the Shire, which might as well be a different world to them.

Maybe rain represents passage into somewhere new because rain itself is a traveler. It travels from the sky, down through the air, to the earth. From there it rises up again, lingers in the clouds, and comes back down. It's always on the move, always going to a new place, always seeing something new.

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