Rain, by Hone Tuwhare

I love rain.  The heavy stuff ...the kind that used pound down on the iron roof back when I lived in Te Anau.  That small town located in Fiordland, a region of mountains, massive lakes ... a national park that is 1,260,740 hectares in size.

Heavy rain on a gloomy Sunday can actually rescue a Sunday.  It's when the day crosses over from 'lifeless and dull' into cosy and delicious', somehow. 

Real rain is joy-filled.  Drizzle is drab.  The stillness of a grey day, energy-sapping.

I took rain forgranted in New Zealand.  It simply was.  I realised I missed it in Istanbul.  My apartment was 5th floor and the closest I got to hearing the glorious sound of heavy rain on the roof was when the rain angled in and hit the big useless metal air-conditioning unit attached outside my apartment.

Belgium doesn't really do torrential ... although these last two years there have been downpours that have caused cellars to flood, due mainly to the problem of a massively concreted landscape that lacks drainage capabilities.  Te Anau was built on glacial moraine.  Rainfall is massive, drainage is fast.

Genova does rain that makes my heart sing although there have been some tragedies in recent years.  I think it used to be October for the real downpours but these years seem less certain, less defined.  Change is afoot.

I was caught in a Genovese deluge one night.  Unbelievable rain ... like a huge bucket of water pouring down from the heavens and it was so unexpected, so crazy, that I ended up laughing out loud as one of the umbrella-selling guys from Pakistan offered to sell me an umbrella.  It was beyond umbrellas.

What was it about that experience that made joy well up like a bubble.  I have no idea but we were laughing like fools in the impossible rain. 

Anyway, favourite poem ever ... just about.

I can hear you making
small holes in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind:

the steady drum-roll
sound you make
when the wind drops

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

But if I should not
smell or feel or see you

You would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

The image that follows ... I took it on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand last year.  I'm looking down on Tautuku Bay, scene of more than a few school camps.  The rain there was flavoured by the sea and the beech forests.  Sweeter rain you couldn't know ... except in Fiordland ... or traveling up the West Coast of the South Island.

Actually, scratch that.  Rain in New Zealand's wilderness areas is usually sweet.  I was rapt to see some of these favourite places in rain when I was showing the Belgian bloke home.  There are places I just don't want to see blue skies and sunshine in ... it's like that.