14, September 2023
Learning to Love the Rain
When was the last time you complained about the rain? If you’re in the UK, we’re guessing it might have been pretty recent. In some parts of the world, people are in desperate need of rain, but here in the UK, where it falls in abundance, it is often seen as the enemy. What if we could learn to love rain? Try embracing the positives of precipitation and rainy days might start to feel just a little more joyful...
Plants Love It
If you’re a gardener, you’ll be familiar with the satisfaction showers can bring. Your plants are getting the drink they need – and you can cross watering them off your to-do list for the day.
In the plant world, everything looks more luxuriant after a rainstorm. Sometimes, raindrops stick around a while, shimmering on leaves and spiders’ webs.
Plants give us so much, from fruits and vegetables to aromatherapy oils. And of course, trees and plants help clean the air that we breathe. Next time it rains, head to a park, woodland or other favourite outdoor space and enjoy the knowledge that the rain splashing down is nourishing all that vital greenery.
The Sound is Soothing
You’ve heard of white noise, but did you know about pink noise? The sound of rainfall is classed as pink noise, and studies like this have shown that this category of sound can help improve sleep quality. In white noise, all frequencies of sound are delivered at the same intensity. In pink noise (a.k.a. 1/f noise or fractal noise), high frequencies are quieter and it’s the lower, softer sounds that are the most audible.
Pink sounds, which often come from Nature (other examples include rustling leaves and flowing waterfalls), tend to do a good job at blocking out any background noise. All in all, these noises offer a soothing experience – which is probably why rain tracks became popular on Spotify during the pandemic.
What’s even better than listening to rain sounds through a device? Listening to real-life rain sounds! Next time it’s chucking it down at night, lie back and enjoy a bit of Nature’s stress relief. Or head outside on a rainy day, close your eyes, breathe deep and simply listen.
Rain can be refreshing. Often, we cancel outdoor plans because of rain. But sometimes it’s good to feel those drops on your face. And if you’re into running or cycling, doing so in the rain can be cooling and refreshing.
If the idea of a rainy walk really doesn’t appeal, remember the words of the late fell-walker, illustrator and author Alfred Wainwright. A.W., as he preferred to be known, devised a 182-mile footpath from the west to the east coast of England. Beginning by the Irish Sea in St Bees, Cumbria and ending at the North Sea in Robin Hood’s Bay, the trail takes in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors National Parks. In his 1973 book A Coast to Coast Walk: A Pictoral Guide, A.W. wrote:
“There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”
It Smells Amazing
Everyone knows the smell of petrichor, that earthy aroma that springs up when rain hits after a dry spell. It’s caused by a bacteria called geosmin being released into the atmosphere. Geosmin has been used as an ingredient in perfumes since the 1960s, and is said to smell exactly like that clean air, wet tarmac aroma. Pluviophiles, who are people who love rain and find specific peace and joy in it, particularly enjoy the smell of petrichor.
Fancy words beginning with ‘p’ aside, rain smells great, whatever the time of year. In autumn, it enhances the seasonal smells of leaves and fallen fruits. In spring and summer, notice how it brings out the aromas of herbs and flowers. It’s the perfect excuse to don that ‘suitable clothing’, get outside and enjoy.
If you really can’t be tempted outside in the middle of a downpour, enjoy sitting somewhere warm and dry, opening a window and letting the pink sounds and petrichor flow inside.