How Embracing Pluviophilia Changes My Perception of Rain
While growing up, I remember how I hated when the sky starts to get a little gloomy beckoning something’s going to come which I would not like—rain.
I hated rain when I was young. I hated thunderstorms because they made my young soul shiver. I’m scared of lightning until now. Memories of me braving the rain waters alone because parents were still at work potentially triggered me to hate the season. During times when classes were suspended because of extremely bad weather, I dread the thought of going home alone, sometimes on bare feet, knowing any moment lightning bolts were just waiting to terrorize me again. At a young age, lightnings gave me the notion that the heaven was mad at me.
I detest rain. Its presence seems to tug along a company of negative emotions—sadness and desolation, a feeling of abandonment, hopelessness, of lethargy. And as much as it cripples a lot of able people, it on the other hand gives others influence and power to act. A farmer naturally had to perfect and master the proper time to do the planting, know the right span of time for growing and when to finally do the harvesting. In some ways, rain is power. It gives and takes away life, in more ways than one. One cannot underrate the power of rain when it gives, more so when it tends to affect more damage than expected—which reminds me of Manila when Tropical Storm Ondoy submerged most parts of the area and claimed hundreds of lives in 2009.
Like everyone else, I have distinct memories of my struggle with rain. One of the worst was when I was in grade school and younger brother and I had to go through that hell of a night together—thunderstorms and lightning roaring just behind our ears one cold night and power was cut off and we were home alone. Despite being the older sibling, I did little to console my little brother as I was myself shaking in fright. It was dark and we had not eaten anything after the lights went out without warning. While weeping silently at the far end of the bed, I prayed that the onslaught would end or that mother and father would come home early from work. That night, I slept away with a damp blanket and pillow (due tears and sweat combined) and with a wish that just didn’t happen. Later that night, I woke up at the whisper of mother calling me and my brother’s name. It was still dark and rain was still pouring hard outside. With the touch of Nanay‘s (mother) hand, I knew she was herself soaking wet, even without really seeing her face…I sobbed in silence not wanting to let out a sound because as an eight year old, I was expected to act as the Ate (older sister). That moment my parents came, I realized that the dark surroundings and the rain no longer terrified me. Because I knew right then that we were already safe.
Just how I hated rain! The sight of dark skies makes me sad. I rarely go out of bed during rainy season. Unless, something very important needs to be urgently addressed, I take my time alone to stay in bed and enjoy the sight indoors. I wouldn’t want to go outside when rain sets in. The mood swings during gloomy days made me think I had seasonal affective disorder. Ironically, the melancholia I felt was both disappointing yet uplifting at the same time.
Several times, I would close my eyes and envision what it will be like to be outside during rainy days. I would think of rain drops falling onto surfaces separately and magically combine with the others forming one big lump of water and then eventually disappears. I would dream of tasting rain; looking up above with eyes shut, mouth gaping just enough to put one curiosity to rest. I never knew there was a part of me that rejoices once I began to hear the pitter- patter on the rooftop—which explains why I am always tempted to play with puddles. as well
A couple of years ago, I met a writer through another blog. A bipolar, he often had manic and depressive attacks especially during cold rainy seasons. He loves the comforting sight and sound of rain. He talks of rain a lot, of Rhode Island, as much as of death. He chronicles his daily struggles and how he just wanted to get out of his current state to be somewhere far and silent and cold… and rainy. The photographs had all there is to say about how lonely he probably was and had been. I am devastated at how a man who grew up with everything ended up so void and lonely. And again, I could do little to reach out. As the days, months and years progressed and me getting hooked on his work, something out of me snapped. I really never hated rain all these years that I thought I did.
Later after that epiphany, I found myself walking lightheartedly on the streets even on rainy days. I’d cuddle in my bed during weekends listening to raindrops which to me is heaven! I would trace raindrops on the windshield of the company van and on buses. I could see now that not everyone hates rain. Somehow, there are Tims and Maricels out there who also gets excited about seeing, touching, smelling rain; who wishes to experience how it feels to dance to the beat of raindrops; who finds comfort and peace at the kind of music raindrops make. My umbrella fails to do me a favor now than it used to. I would skip and jump over puddles running after jeepneys. Yes, it’s not ladylike to run after vehicles that do not seem to want to take passengers in. But sometimes, circumstances force us to go out of our comfort zone to do the unimaginable; still others helps us embrace a part of our selves that had been peeking at the door of our being, wanting and waiting to be set free.
On a cold and rainy day like today, I would remember Tim and all of his struggles. I thank him for unconsciously helping me with the realization. Yes, I am a pluviophile. And I thank a lot others as well because I do not feel so abandoned and alone now as I did before. In truth, I no longer shiver with the thought of me as a basangsisiw…except for the fact that I am also hypothermic.