I ran across a new-to-me term recently: Pluviophile. So, what sort of person is a pluviophile? My sources say it is someone who is a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

While I will make no claim to being a dyed-in-the-wool pluviophile, there was once a time in my life when I might have qualified.

In the spot of Appalachia where I grew up with a younger brother, and a mom and dad (how rare, these days…), the warm, summer-rain downpours are prodigious sometimes. The combination of clouds, heavily laden with moisture — being driven by prevailing winds from the west — dump their moisture as heavy rain when air cools as they rise on the windward slopes. The fact that we were surrounded by many, many acres of dense forest added a few bazillion tons of extra moisture. ‘Just one more piece of magic on this planet we call home.

Some summer rain storms have heavy enough rainfall of warm-enough temperature, to permit stripping down to ones underwear and soaking up as much rain as possible. Games played in the back yard, or an impromptu ‘shower’ under the gutter whose opening was closest to the kitchen corner of our old gambrel house, were some of the activities fully permitted children during such storms.

There were no admonitions not to get soaked; and no concern with our general undress, as no neighbor houses were closer than about 80 yards away. If thunder and lightning accompanied strong storms, we did not play pluviophile in any manner. Surrounded by Eastern Temperate Hardwood forest, our home was admittedly lightning-strike prone. White oaks, ancient hemlocks, maples and beeches tower to 150 feet. We judiciously avoided any exposure in those electric storms.

Our late mother was a pluviophile, however, her entire life. Our dad was away from home — at factory work — for 10 hours daily, counting his commute. Mom used the rainy days to read, mainly to study for her Sunday School lesson preparation. She taught an adult Bible class for 65 years. Rainy days were her respite, her continuing labour of life-long learning. Housekeeping chores could be postponed until a sunnier day came along.

On the other hand, my days as a pluviophile are now extremely rare. A combination of heart meds and blood thinner keep me physically chilled most of the time. Rain usually means cooler temperatures, even in our short summers. The only folk who now benefit from rainy weather are the suppliers of my home-heating utilities…

I remain a child of the light, even if I don’t accomplish much outdoors or around the house on bright, sunny days. I think I understand pluviophiles, though. More power to them.

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