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The Many Names of Rain

The Many Names of Rain

It’s raining.

You live in the Pacific Northwest and it’s November, you say. Of course it’s raining.

Winter is coming—or is here, depending on whose calendar you’re asking. And winter means rain, here on the northwest coast of the United States.

But where I was born and where the landscape of my heart was carved, winter meant ice and snow. Samhain/Hallowe’en could have snow, and often did when I was a little girl. Thanksgiving was even odds, rain or snow, or possibly freezing rain, with Christmas similar, but on the colder end. By Groundhog’s Day (an important state holiday in Pennsylvania!), the ground was beginning to melt and it was Mud Season punctuated with icy rain.

Here, though, I am learning more about layers of rain for the long rainy season.

The mist that is barely rain. The drizzle. The steady, light rain.water puddle rocks

The steady, not-so-light rain (need a better name for that one).

The rain that comes in on the wings of a heavy, gusty wind.

The days and days of dark and cloudy days and rainy evenings.

Rarely, but occasionally, there’s the big-drop rain and thunder I know from back East. And hardly ever those downpours in the summer, as they are in my homeland. I haven’t yet seen lightning in my two years here, but that’s only twice around the Wheel, so there’s time, and the climate is, after all, changing.

When I was a girl, I walked naked in nighttime thunderstorms, carrying my raincoat over my arm. I went down by the cornfields and into the cemetery at the foot of the street. I sat among the dead and listened to them in the rain.

I sang to the squeaky windshield wipers in my father’s ancient Chevy truck. Now a sound that means, oh! Need new wipers. Then it was a song I heard, the song of the rain, the window, the roof, the wipers, and me.

Just the sound of rain gave me goosebumps. It still does. Just the sound or sight, and certainly the chilly feeling of rain on my skin.

My first witchy name was Thunderbrand. I got the idea of it while sitting on my girlfriend’s balcony in a summer thunderstorm. The storm was magic. I was one with the storm, and I was magic.

Parts of me miss the clearly defined four seasons of my younger years. But rain is still magic. Not only with the drama of thunder and lightning, but also with the nurturing gentleness of today’s rain.

Welcome to winter, my friends.

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