It’s 3am and I’m wide awake, breathing in sweet winter air. Currently seated on my sofa, with my legs cramped up tight. My toes that are chipping off red nail paint can feel the slight gush of the cold winter breeze that is slowly taking over the city. All of a sudden, I can hear droplets of water hitting against the dry earth making it moist and causing the heat from within the earth to be released. The rain’s speeding up, and so is my heart beat.
Rain is cherished in every city, by all people regardless of their strata. It is a sign of a blessing, it symbolises the pouring out of blessings. But rain in a place like UAE is certainly relished and longed for. The Arab emirates experience a climate where the weather forecast during November to January (winter months) reads sunny and warm during the day and cool during the night. The land becomes so prached that one may come to feel the sun contains no mercy for it’s well wishers- the people and their supporting habitat. The highest temperatures recorded every year are mind boggling, with a sweltering 57.6 C in 2012.
Let’s not be overwhelmed by the overwhelming summer rather welcome in the rain and pleasantness is ushers along.
An excerpt from Gillian Taber’s Cultural Attitudes toward rain caught my eye-
For most people, waking up to a grey day with rain sleeting out of the sky makes us want to pull the blankets over our heads and forget getting up. For someone who has experienced drought in its most extreme forms the sight of rain would likely have the complete opposite effect.
There are differences in cultures which cause humanity to look at rain in many and varied ways. Rain is associated with sadness in the West, with tears and the blues. Cultures used to having little to no rainfall understandably see rain as something joyful to be happy about.
Consider nursery rhymes. ‘It’s raining, it’s pouring’, ‘Rain rain go away’, even the traditional ‘Dr Foster’ rhyme which sees a doctor falling into a puddle and refusing to return to that place ever again. All negative towards something that is a vital part of our environment. A necessary evil if you stick with the negative attitude.
The sun, in comparison, brings feelings of warmth and happiness. The songs are upbeat, ‘You are my Sunshine’, Here comes the Sun’ and ‘Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows’. Yet the sun in excess is perhaps more deadly than the rain we seem to loathe.
It is clear that a cultures attitude to rain is largely based around how much that culture sees of it. In the West it has become an inconvenience, something that gets in the way of our day. We have water on tap and don’t need any more of out of the sky as we head to work.
We hide from rain under macs and umbrellas. Getting wet in the rain has associations with sickness, colds and flu. It ‘gets into our bones’ and makes us suffer. Look at the faces of people who wait for the bus as rain pours down. There are no smiles, only misery and the desire to be out of the horrid stuff as soon as possible.
Head to Africa and other hotspots about the world and see the difference. Rain is welcomed, sometimes literally with open arms. People who haven’t seen rain for years will rush out into the open and soak themselves with that precious liquid. Smiles and laughter will be everywhere.