While I am writing this, it is finally raining. Many in Singapore never thought we would miss the sound of rain this much. It rained briefly yesterday. Preceded by one of the longest dry spell in the history of Singapore. It was made worse by the haze. Suddenly many Singaporeans, who were used to humid and wet weather, were faced with continuous dry, hot, hazy days and nights. Driving along the roads, I saw dried up ferns on trees, brown Bougainvillea plants with no flowers, patches of mixed green and brown grass, all starving for rain, drained of the kind of greenery we are so accustomed to, or should I say the greenery we have taken mostly for granted. Rain in tropical Singapore is a given. Practical people, when it rains, complain of the inconvenience to daily lives. The need for umbrellas, traffic congestion, cancellation of outdoor activities, staying indoors, the list goes on. And then there is someone like me.
I named the movie company I founded, Raintree Pictures. My blog and life coaching are called After The Rain, with a line, ‘There Is Always A Rainbow After The Rain’. Rain is water and water is life. But my affinity to rain is really less material and more just a feel. When I was much younger, I remember being in zinc-roof houses and listening to the loud rain. I thought then and still think now, that it would be a sound I could fall asleep to. It is the most comforting sound. The sound of nature. The sound that everything is right with the world. The sky is touching the earth. With the very element the earth needs to survive. Falling rain against the light of lamp posts, with people walking, either with umbrellas or raincoats, is a sight of ongoing life with a hint of romance. Almost like a natural movie set. Roger Miller said, “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” I know, I know what he meant.
I used to say, “If there is comfort food, rain in many ways is comfort weather.” At least to me. I see the reservoirs filling up, I see farmers rejoicing, I see the entire landscape meandering with reawakening life. After the rain, it is also clean because the rain has washed away dirt and waste. Rain has no colour. Like black and white movies. The feel of rain have inspired creative works since time immemorial. And it is quite different from the feel of snow. Snow is exclusive, almost elitist. Rain is inclusive and like the salt of the earth, more grounded. It only snows in some parts of the world, but it rains nearly everywhere I know. Arguably snowing is more cinematic, and admittedly wondrous and even grand. Yet rain has an audible dimension which makes it more immediate. It nourishes, cleanses and life resumes. When it is over, the sun emerges from the rain clouds. The mood shifts. Like another scene in a movie.
From another point of view, rain is hardly colourless. With sunlight, we see rainbows. My father used to make plans to bring us to the movies when he was not working. We would look forward to these outings with a passion bordering on obsession. Sometimes we had to cancel because of a heavy downpour. I remember days before each trip the movies, I would look up to the skies, praying for sunny weather. One day, it rained in the late morning. I told myself, there was hope yet. The rain would stop in time for the movie. It did not. But the rain was light. My father decided we would proceed to watch the movie. All of a sudden, my world-view of rain changed. Leaving the house, I thought I saw a rainbow. It was still raining after the movie. We sat in an eatery. Eating after a movie, looking out at the rain, I thought it was a perfect day.
Recently I chanced upon this simple poem online, by an unknown author, simply titled ‘Rain’…
The rain falling softly upon his face,
Takes him to a magical place.
The rain falling softly in his hair,
Lets his soul float upon the air.
The rain touching his lips,
Gives him the breath of life in little sips.
The rain falling softly from the sky,
Lets him know that heaven,
Is where good souls fly.