rain

Rain gets a bad rap. “Don’t rain on my parade.” “Into each life some rain must fall.” “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is let it rain.” And let’s not forget the ever-popular, “Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day.”

I, for one, like the rain just fine. There, I said it. Does that make me some kind of cloud-hugging weirdo? I enjoy a nice, sunny day as much as anyone, but what’s wrong with a nice, rainy day? Why can’t a rainy day be a nice day? To most people, “nice” is generally understood to be the exact opposite of rain. If you ask someone what the weather forecast is for the weekend, and the guy says, “It’s supposed to be nice,” leave your umbrella at home. Grab your sunglasses because it’s going to be sunny.

If you want sunshine day in and day out, move to Yuma, AZ. Those folks out there get only 52 days a year that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration considers “cloudy.” That doesn’t even include the days that are classified as “partly cloudy,” and there’s no guarantee of rain during those 52 “cloudy” days. Maybe it rains, maybe it doesn’t. It’s just “cloudy.”

To me, that sounds absolutely horrific. It’s like eating cheesecake 313 days out of the year. I absolutely love cheesecake (especially with some fresh strawberry puree — man, that’s a good way to cap off a gluttonous dinner), but come on! I need a little variety in my life! After a dozen or so days of cheesecake, cheesecake, cheesecake, I’d beg for lima beans, brussel sprouts, a sardine sandwich — anything. Too much of a good thing is just what it is: Too much of a good thing.

At the other end of our country’s cloudy-city spectrum is the Northwest and Alaska. Staying in the continental United States, Olympia, WA, gets 228 certifiably “cloudy” days a year. Broaden your horizons a little, and you can visit Cold Bay, AK, where they stumble around in 304 “cloudy” days annually. The conventional thinking is that people who live in cloudy, rainy cities tend to be depressed, gloomy and downcast. That may be true, but I suspect I would find constant sunshine at least as depressing, maybe more so. It’s too much cheesecake, unless you’re the meteorologist in Yuma. That must be a pretty easy gig.

I like the variety and I particularly enjoy the transitional periods. My favorite times of the year are when you get an almost tangible sense that the seasons are changing, seemingly that day. It’s like that one summer evening when you really notice that it’s getting dark early, and you realize that fall is near. I’ve enjoyed summer, but I’m done enjoying. I’ve had enough cheesecake, and now I’d like something else. May I have a slice of autumn? Please add a touch of sweatshirts, football, leaves crunching underfoot and the chance to walk outside without my shirt getting sweat-soaked in less than three minutes.

It’s nothing against summer and sunshine, but I’ve had my fill. In December, I’ll be tired of autumn and ready for a frosty-breath winter. I’ll make the most of winter, but around late February I’ll be aching to spring forward. Come May, the heck with spring! Bring on some summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!

Constant change is here to stay, unless, I suppose, you live in Cold Bay or Yuma.

Finally, a rain-inspired thought from Chuck Klosterman, my new favorite writer. Chuck described an (extremely) hypothetical question in which a good friend of yours is going to be attacked by a grizzly bear. The friend is guaranteed to survive the attack, but the injuries are unknown. He might get nothing more than a small cut, or he might end up in a hospital bed for the rest of his life with no arms nor legs. For some magical, mysterious reason, you are able to stop the attack, but if you do, it will rain for the rest of your life. Some days will be hurricanes and some will be light showers, but it will always be raining. Wherever you go, it will be raining — even in Yuma. Do you stop the attack and get ready for the downpour?

My friends need not worry. The grizzly will be stopped, and they’ll be fine. I won’t lie: I’ll miss the sunshine, but I think I could cope. I’ll spend the extra time indoors to clean out my closet.

David Spates is a Knoxville resident and Crossville Chronicle contributor whose column is published each Tuesday. He can be reached at davespates@tds.net.