Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Maybe it has something to do with growing up on the plains, where summer storms are plentiful, powerful, and visible from a long way off, but I have always found myself soothed or even oddly moved by a good deluge. Rain snick-snicking on an umbrella is a treat (unless you are trying to carry a bunch of things and stay dry at the same time); the white noise of a nighttime shower is a relaxing blanket when you’re trying to sleep (unless you suddenly remember you left the windows in your car open). Waiting out a rainstorm at a baseball stadium, an excuse to enjoy a beer, a hotdog and a cooling breeze in the middle of August. Laughing as you get caught in a downpour with someone you love.

The first short story I ever sold was called “Rain,” and the protagonist sought solace from his current situation—caught in the teeth of a steamy, jungle-based South American war—in the memories of childhood rainstorms.

Needless to say, it rains all the time here. Sometimes it’s annoying, like when I forget my umbrella or was planning to spend the day doing something outside.

But a lot of the time I find it stirs a sort of quiet contemplation.

Lightning flashes over the hills of Kowloon at night. A maelstrom of rain turns the air over the harbor opaque. A morning storm wakes me up with thunder and apocalyptically gray skies, and after pouring some coffee, I watch the rain pummel the pavement 13 stories down.

Yeah. There’s no telling why, exactly, I feel this way about heavy rain. But here in Hong Kong, I’m glad I do.

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