Friday, July 2, 2010

The risk of a shower . . .?

I don't want to sound curmudgeonly . . . well, perhaps I do, just a little . . . but wouldn't you agree with me that weather forecasters could be a little less biased when it comes to the crucial subject they talk about?
A few moments ago I was watching the forecast on television.
"There is a slight risk of showers in the south-east," said the presenter.
He said it apologetically, as though holding himself responsible for any absence of sunshine.
"But," he continued on a more buoyant note, "some of you may be lucky and see no rain at all."
Since when, I wanted to ask, was it lucky to be hot and arid?

Are we so conditioned to the favoured concept of wall-to-wall sunshine that we can no longer recognise the benefits of a shower?
It's true that, every now and then, a forecaster makes casual mention of "you gardeners, who want rain for your gardens". But what about the farmers needing rain for the crops, vital food crops that sustain the population? What about the rivers needing rain to give them health and vitality . . . the woods and forests needing rain to seep down to the thirsty roots of the trees . . . the parched fields and hedgerows, crying out for the restoration of their green patina?

Closer to home, what about the rain that finally wends its way to the reservoirs and makes possible our regular water supply? What about the smooth running of our sewage systems and the unquestioning availability of our daily showers?
Chloe, for one, is never happier than when resting in the basin, in close proximity to a dribbling tap!

What's more, this rain that we bemoan knows no limit to its generosity. It is rain that refreshes the air . . . rain that clears away our man-made dust and debris . . . rain that, as a glass of water, quenches our thirst more effectively than any other form of liquid and tops up the vital water component in our bodies.

And spare a moment to reflect on the beauty, sound and fragrance
of this vital resource . . . the droplets that cluster like pearls on cobwebs. . . the streams that, replenished by the rain, gurgle their way down from the hills. . . the heady scent of the garden after a restorative drenching.

Tell me, when you were young, did you keep a commonplace book? I did, and I still have it. What's more, it shows that my appreciation of rain goes back a long way.
At the age of sixteen I recorded a passage from "The Great Ship", by Eric Linklater.
May I share it with you?

"Did you ever see Edinburgh when the wind's in the east, and the sky black with cloud, and the whole town's drunkit with rain, and every gutter running like a burn in spate? All the cassie stones shining-wet, and waterfalls coming down the Castle Rock, and the roofs of the houses dancing for joy, and the wind howling for more. It's a grand sight,
Edinburgh in the rain . . . "

The risk of a shower . . . ? No, surely not! Let's be grateful for the unquestionable benefits of a shower.
And, just think about it for a moment, how could we have the promise of the rainbow without the blessing of the rain?