June 7, 2013, Washington, DC: This Friday afternoon rain is the very best kind. The kind that blurs and softens this place so it looks nothing like it did earlier this week when the sky was so blue it was severe against the hard marble buildings that slice into Washington’s skyline. Today’s rain is the kind you enjoy through cracked windows to allow that fresh smell of summer to seep into the apartment. The kind of rain that slows you down after an anxious week and keeps you indoors, for once not distracted by the river and parks and life of a city that won’t stop beckoning you back outside.
“This rain I am in is not like the rain in cities,” wrote Thomas Merton. “It fills the woods with an immense and confused sound. It covers the flat roof of the cabin and its porch with insistent and controlled rhythms. And I listen, because it reminds me again and again that the whole world runs by rhythms I have not yet learned to recognize, rhythms that are not those of the engineer.”
Our city rain may be less wild than the rain of the woods, but it is no less therapeutic. Though its rhythms are interrupted by car horns down the block and high heels clicking along wet pavement and conversations out our open apartment window, our city rain is just what this place needs. The surround sound of wilderness rain may be more all-consuming than this afternoon’s rain here in town, but a good summer rain in Washington begs this fast-paced city to take a breather, even if it only lasts for Friday night.
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