In Israel, we have sort of a split personality when it comes to rain. Some of us pray for it three times a day. We want it, we need it. We talk worriedly when it doesn’t rain enough and celebrate when we see a heavy rainstorm in the forecast. When the rain finally arrives, it’s a sign that our lakes and streams will fill up again. Crops will be watered, and the rain will quench the Land’s thirst, bringing the dry, dead earth back to life. Rain is good.
On the other hand, so many of us consider rainy days to be dark and depressing, especially if they come one after another. One rainy day is okay. But after many rainy days, it’s not uncommon to hear these words spoken by friends, family members, or even mere acquaintances, “I hate winter! It’s so dark and depressing.”
This makes sense. Because most people stay indoors on rainy days. And there’s nothing quite as quietly depressing (in my opinion) as being stuck inside for days on end.
So, what’s the solution to this unhappy contradiction in our feelings about the rain? Get outside, even when it’s raining.
We are lucky to live in an era of waterproof fabrics, indoor heating, washing machines, dryers, and general convenience. Going outside in the rain can’t really harm us nowadays, especially when outfitted with a hooded jacket and waterproof boots. On the contrary, going out in the rain can only contribute to a more positive mental state throughout the winter months.
I make it a point to go for a walk at least twice a day, even when I’m not hiking. At around 7:00 PM, it looks and feels like midnight outside in my cold and quiet mountaintop town. The wind is blowing. It’s been raining all day long. It’s warm and cozy inside. And I haul myself into my jacket and boots and head outside.
I love these walks. I love the feeling of the harsh breeze or cool wind in my face. Little raindrops gather on my nose and cheeks. There’s a re-invigorating energy that comes from simply getting outside.
And on rainy hiking days? We head out for a hike anyway, even if it’s raining. I have never regretted this decision. Almost always, the rain lets up enough that we get to enjoy a world of post-downpour magical beauty. Dewy drops gather on flower petals and patches of moss. New streams appear in dry riverbeds as if out of nowhere. Birds and animals seem to be drawn out into the world of post-storm peace and quiet.
If it’s still raining, we find shelter in a cave. Inside, we can watch the rain pour down while we sip hot coffee from a thermos and eat apple muffins. Could there be anything more delightful than that?
This winter don’t let the rain stop you from enjoying nature. Get outside and enjoy that miraculous blessing you’ve been hoping and praying for.