Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life. –John Updike
When I lived on the west coast rains were gentle, ever present and mostly seen in the form of a dragon mists twining through trees and up mountainsides. Waking up in the morning and looking out over the bay dotted with tiny tree covered islands I could easily imagine I was caught inside a Japanese woodblock print.
Rain in Austin is an entirely different phenomenon. Appropriately for the world’s music capital, a proper rain event in Austin includes light shows and sound ordinance breaking thunder. Though we have been living through a drought, the climate is normally subtropical. I popped the above video into this post to illustrate a typical subtropical rainstorm; it reminds me a bit of a whitewater rafting adventure.
Climate influences us in so many ways I wonder if it also shapes our psychology and our ways of approaching the world.
When I first moved to the South I was struck by how slowly everyone walked and talked. Arms akimbo. No damn hurry. Nothing started on time. People would stop on the street to just say hi. I admit to a kind of prejudice. I thought these moments in molasses meant everyone was simple minded or naive. I know better now of course. Slow and steady can win the race.
Though I lived on the West coast for a long time I grew up in the North where a person learns to move quickly through the cold: from one warm place to another. Life really was all about the destination rather than the journey. The journey — especially in blizzard conditions — could after all kill you. At 40 below zero exposed skin freezes in less than a minute. Did living that way build in some introversion? I know that I hold my body tightly even today. Does it reflect an unconscious fear? A need to stay warm?
I wonder what kinds of subtle effects may be imprinted on people as the planet heats up. Will extreme heat ignite more rage within us? Will it just feel so oppressive we give up? Will our characters rise up to the occasion?