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It's been raining for two days here.

This is good, actually, because there was a fairly major explosion at a chemical processing plant yesterday, which involved a roving cloud of chlorine slinking through the suburbs, waving chartreuse tentacles, and the obligatory raging fires and whatnot. They evacuated most of the town of Apex. (We're fine here--Apex is a few miles away, and there's no concern that it might head this way.) Rain is supposed to help get this down out of the air and presumably also help put the fires out. So I'm glad we have rain! Rain is good!

Unfortunately, ever since living in Arizona, rain has depressed me. I used to enjoy it, when I lived in Oregon. Now it's just rather dreary.

I'm not sure if somewhere in the shuffle between states, my mental filters got reset, or what. Actually, I wonder if some places are just plain better at rain.

Now, Oregon was a champion at rain. The world went misty and indirectly lit. It went...soft, for lack of a better term. Rain was like Vasoline smeared on the lens of the world. Suddenly the state went beautiful and vague.

Part of the reason this worked, I suspect, is because there's a strong undertone of grey to the pallette in Oregon. I used to think it was a very green state--then I moved to the South and realized that I didn't know shit about green. This place does green like Genghis Khan did real estate. Oregon was grey-green instead, heavy on the pine trees. Possibly that's why the rain worked. It coordinated.

Rain in Minnesota was like all other weather in Minnesota--something we endured, but we'll manage, we can't complain, after all, it could be a lot worse, and at least no one was hurt. Minnesota is a state driven almost entirely by the need to be indoors. This has bred a kind of grim Lutheran stoicism and some really cutthroat bridge players.

Rain did not belong in Arizona at all, that bleached bone country, and compensated for this by getting the job done quickly, dramatically, and then fleeing immediately for more hospitable climates.

Rain here is something you're glad to have happen, because we're in a drought and again, the roving clouds of chlorine gas, but it's not really enjoyable. It wanders between the hard, pounding, back-breaking rain and the delicate fine spray. Possibly there's just too much green in the foreground--the sky picks up no grey in the ground, so it looks like an intrusion, something that happens to you, not an integral part of the system. The landscape is wearing a drab sweater over screaming kelly green pants, and the resulting fashion snafu is subliminally depressing.

Possibly I'm nuts.

It would seem that you are most certainly both an artist and a writer. I mean, what else would result in you writing an oddly* poetic post about rain, where rain in a location is critiqued according to the palette of the region?

* We just have to assume everything you do will be odd in some way, which makes this a rather redundant adverb.

No, not nuts. That's a perfect description of rain in Oregon, both the high desert parts and the temperate rainforest parts.

I miss it so.

A strong second to the idea that you're not nuts.
I was beginning to notice some of the same types of things, having just moved from Seattle to Virginia.
I miss Seattles soft-focus wetness. I kind-of enjoy the hard pouring rain here that Seattle nearly never experiences. I feel cheated when it mists here because it just doesn't have the right look to it.
Your description has a few extra locales, I particularly enjoyed the characterization of rain fleeing from Arizona.

I grew up in Oregon and miss the rain terribly. Especially having moved to Utah.

By the by, I don't know if you caught this the last time I posted (I did it in the middle of your three pages of comments of congratulations about the children's book. dumb me) but the stores near my house sell Morning Thunder tea (complete with the charging bison and all). If you're up for sharing a mailing address of some sort with a rabid fangirl, I'd be more than happy to send you some. :) I seem to recall that being discussed.

If not! Ignore me. I'm a lunatic.

Ooooh! I'd be delighted! Do you have an e-mail I can send to, and would you like to trade prints for tea?

You never cease to make people smile. This was possibly the most interesting concept of rain I've ever seen. Bloody brilliant.

You were (I'm assuming) in western Oregon, since you mention the rain- unless you were right on the coast, they weren't pine trees. ;) Coastal Oregon has shore pine (among other things), the east Cascade slopes have ponderosa pine (among other things), but the rest of western Oregon doesn't really have many pines (unless planted in people's yards). Mostly Douglas fir, some spruce, western red cedar, true firs (noble, grand, etc) on the mountain slopes, that kind of thing.

Sorry, I think I'm channeling my dendrology professor this morning. :P

Anyway, I love the description of the rain. Having grown up in Seattle but also lived in Alaska, North Dakota, Colorado, Kansas and now Oregon... who knew there were so many different flavors to rain?? :)

*laugh* I sit corrected!

Well, conifers, anyway...

This has bred a kind of grim Lutheran stoicism and some really cutthroat bridge players.


Your observations are not at all nuts. I'd say they were fairly accurate. I think the semi-perpetual greyness of the English weather (sometimes it feels grey even when the sun is shining) is what leads to the British stiff upper lip -- or to quote Pink Floyd: "Hanging on in quiet desparation is the English way".

A few days ago there was a very heavy rain complete with thunder like cannon fire in Stockholm, and I probably got filed under the Random Crazy Person section in the minds of quite a lot of people that day. I'd meant to sit in the Comic Library and read manga, but instead I walked through the town singing, smiling, with my face turned to the sky and no umbrella. :-) I got soaked within minutes, but it was just that kind of rain, unlike today when we've had the stay-indoors-with-a-cup-of-tea-and-a-good-book kind.

Carolina weather as you've described it sounds like a more mellow version of Belgian weather, which could best be described as meteorological schizophrenia. The weather changes from sunny to cloudy to light drizzle to sunny to downpour to merely cloudy and then to both sunny and rainy, all in the space of twenty minutes. It's enough to drive anyone crazy.

This place does green like Genghis Khan did real estate.

I love this line very much!

*laugh* I'm not sure I can take credit for it--I know I've seen " like saying Genghis Khan dabbled in real estate," used as an analogy a coupla times, but I'm not sure where. Has a Douglas Adams vibe, though.

Rains in most places are something you can wait out. Between showers, you can actually step under an awning or something and wait for a clear patch.

Try that in Seattle, and you'd die of starvation or just plain boredom after the first few days.

The concept of waiting out rain is a very foreign one that I'm desperately trying to learn.

I've always wondered about the perpetual "drought" that NC seems to be in. of the past 8-9 years that i've lived here (damn... i've been here too long!) it seems like we're only in a drought if it's a low-hurricane year. and if we get a lot of them, then at least one city gets half-destroyed by floods, but we're not in a drought. perhaps a case of skewed averages? I dunno. just seems odd to me.

interestingly, one of my co-workers, and one of my WoW guildies (not the same person) live within 10-15 miles of the cloud. fun times...

You want snafu color combinations, you should try Houston early-morning mist when later in the day the Devil is sure to be Beating His Wife. I swear, it's like someone took a deranged airbrush to the sky and then covered it with a bad photoshop gradient. Sitting on the curb waiting for my bus under the liveoaks lit sickly black-orange by the sodium streetlamps, with the sky as uniformly magenta as only a very concentrated urban center can paint, and the omnidirectional neon/fluorescent predawn cloud light turns the huge campus expanses of grass a uniformly neon/fluorescent green, about sixty times more saturated than the purple of the sky and the orange/black of the backlit trees... It's bizarre, to say the least. Someone let an unusually untalented eight-year-old loose with a very old version of Photoshop. The palette is so inconsistent I have to close my eyes and reset my aesthetic appreciation meter.

Houston's great for atmospheric art. I especially like the stormy sunset "city suspended inside an incandescent rotting pumpkin" look.

English rain is the best. It's an art, perfected for many, many centuries. There was drought in the summer, but recently we've had nothing but rain. And win.

It's lovely.

I think heavy clouds at sunset have the best natural colours myself. Rain and pink and purple pebbles is pretty as well.

There always seems to be a drought in summer in england now though ;P

baby... i'm going home to hawai'i to visit in march.

come with me. i'll show you green.

*laugh* Forget the green, I'd go just for the birds!

The first summer that I came back to Wisconsin after a year in Dubai, I was totally struck by all the shades of green. It had been a pretty wet spring/early summer, so everything was completely lush.

I'm a midwestern kid at heart and always will be. I love a good damp fall morning with the gorgeous colors of the leaves peeking out through the fog, and the greyness of the rain blending in with the fog.

I spell it "grey" when I like it and "gray" when I don't. Does anyone else do that?

Yes. Grey and gray are different words. Grey Gray is sort of insipid.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
Incidentally, thank you for the wonderful descriptions above, Ursula! It's neat to hear reflection about the "pallette" of a region.

The leaves are changing here in Ohio, with the sumacs and sugar maples taking on bright shades of red and orange. I remember my years in Russia (in and around Moscow); thanks not only to differences in vegetation, but in the makeup of the soil, the reds and oranges were missing (and missed) -- even the local maples were yellow. Autumn in Moscow was yellow, pale gold, and grey, hence the Russian expression "zolotaya osen'" ("Gold(en) Autumn", now also a brand name). This isn't to say that it wasn't beautiful as well -- just a very different pallette.


October Greens

This year the greens of October have a getting-ready-to-burst-into-gold quality. This complements the May Green riots. I think the chlorine is what makes the wrong fashion statement. Did you notice the pinky-prange-orange clouds last night? Around 1 or 2 o'clock--it looked like another explosion was going on.

Just so you know, I found your blog by way of Australia. A person I know from the Republic of Pemberley (Hil) posted a link to your Blackbeard Tampon ad (which is fabulous, a real marketing opportunity for some bold and piratical fellow--have you considered a pistol-packin'panty liner named after Mary Read and Anne Bonny the local female pirates?) and lo and behold you are in my neck of the woods! Welcome to the richest palate of greens you will ever find outside of the rain forest.

Here's the first poem I ever wrote in NC, one for the hard-pounding rain:

Over Sudden Head

Water slurp sluices down, licks leaves, drapes eaves,
Nearly mauls the wind chimes--what a white wish gravy!
What a green growling godawful abundance of drench!

Thunder sprawls cloud cackling, long sweet and greedy
as ropes of stone-cracking hardy honeysuckle, then shakeclaps
rockhand hard down the next block in knockholy kneeslap glee.

Lightning harsh as snapdragon hair fries the air--my heart
flickers crazycrack along each sizzlejack kickshock---

Slow steady drip of the bell lip windchime drop into the sloop
pat puddles at the base of the ploop slip porch. Soon, sun
sorta saunters out, kinda cool, newsuit, goldrings and all--hangs
around, tosses powdershine bright bits all over every other thing,
then dusts it all off and its all.

Sudden over.


having grown up in the south, i love the southern rain in its changing forms, but i understand the beauty of the rain in oregon (having travel there) and the fast and sleeting desert rains (having lived in Colorado)... but the schizo southern rain has always been my favorite.

I remember playing outside (in Oklahoma) when I was little. It started raining, so I got up to go inside. By the time I got five feet, it stopped. :P

I love rain, myself. I always have. My favourite is a good, rolling thunderstorm, but I love fog and quiet rains, too. I really started to appreciate it after living in the Mojave Desert for four years. Rain is downright boring, there.

I have some friends sort of near the chlorinated area, and it freaks me out a little. Yay for rain, pulling nasties into solution, and possibly into the groundwater, where I can deal with it!
Even two months of bioremediation research will get into your head. "Yay, the pollutants are in the groundwater! Now the trees can reach them!" is not a rational response unless you know the trees.

I know what you mean about rain. I've lived mainly in two places - Arizona and Vancouver, Canada. What a contrast! In Arizona the rains were sudden, dramatic, and sometimes even exciting. I remember we even had the odd dust storm in the late summer. First the clouds would tower up on the horizon. Purples, blues, funky eerie gray-greens. And an orange line would spread out beneath. As the storm approached the orange line got taller until it looked like a wall. When the wall hit the light would turn to copper as the dust hazed the air. Usually at this point we'd have a few nice hits of cloud to cloud lightening. Altogether it would look like the end of the world. All scary and beautiful. And then of course, it would rain mud for a while. Into every apocalypse a bit of mud must fall!

Here in Vancouver our winters are mild and mostly about rain. We don't get as much rain as Seattle, but we get a massive diversity of it. Torrential downpours, heavy rains, steady rain, intermittent rain, sideways rain, soft rain, drizzle, scotch mist, etc... In all honesty, the mist is the most frustrating. It just feels too trivial to put up an umbrella, and yet it can sneak in past collars and cuffs; before you know it you're damp all over. Even with an umbrella you can only keep your head safe unless you stand perfectly still; it just sneaks in underneath and trickles into the most unexpected of places. Fortunately, our rainy season doesn't last that long, and it's getting shorter every year. Thanks to the recent climate shifts our summers are getting longer and our winters less intense. There's still enough consecutive days of dreary gray murk to get a good brood going, but they pass and the sun and green comes out again.

I wonder if artists are solar powered. ;)

Wait, winters in Vancouver are rainy? Good to know, since I'm going there for the Olympics in 2010, though it would've been nice if it'd been all snowy and crisp*. But then again I walked around in a t-shirt a few times in Torino, so I guess rain is more wintery after all...

*Give the Olympics to Sweden damnit, we'll show ya winter!

Oregan actually just gets cooler rain than North Carolina. It's right where the Westerlies run up against the Rockies, so you get the rain pooping out over the western seaboard.

Nah, you're not nuts. But I think rain in Arizona is amazing... strangely when I was in Utah at Zion Canyon, it rained the entire time, that sort of grey drizzly thing, and it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen becuase random plants appeared out of nowhere and parts of it were like a jungle. And then when the sun was out there was this soothing empty quality to the place.

Funniest thing ever, however, is rain in Las Vegas. Rain in Las Vegas is like blizzards in Wash. DC: It happens, most assuredly, but nobody has the slightest clue of how to deal with it. In Vegas the casino floors flooded and I couldn't help but laugh, because personally I hate casinos >>;

Haha, I'm going to go to a hunter trial one day wearing a drab gray sweater under my kelly green event vest and go cross-country in the rain like that. Just 'cuz it'll make me smile.

The bridge players in Minnesota may be cutthroat, but they still can't cope with people playing a system that isn't SAYC. Not even things that have been around long enough to go out of fashion again in Australia.

IMO, of course.


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