God is Weeping

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “The Rainy Day”

People who grow up in the Pacific Northwest suffer from peculiar climate-related disorders unique to only to us.   This deserves a page in the next version of the DSM — the diagnostic psychiatric manual:  we in the PNW don’t feel 100% normal unless it is raining.  We love weather like we’re having right now – full on gray and full on wet with threats of northeast winds and snow.

In fact, we born and bred web-footers can feel downright depressed when it is sunny all the time.  We groan inwardly when yet another day dawns bright instead of gray, we start to look longingly at accumulating clouds,  and we get positively giddy when morning starts with a drizzly mist.

It’s difficult to say what exactly is at work in brain chemistry in cases like this.  It is the opposite effect of classically described Seasonal Affective Disorder diagnosed especially in those transplants from more southerly climates who get sadder and slowed down with darker days and longer nights.   In people like me, born a stone’s throw from Puget Sound, the more sunlight there is, the more doldrums I feel:  desolaration (desolation from too much solar exposure).   The grayer the day, the wetter the sky–> a lightening of the heart and the spirit:  precipilicity (felicity arising from precipitation).

Like most northwesterners, I have low Vitamin D levels even in the summer.  It just isn’t seemly to expose all that skin to UV light.

So I celebrate the profound relief of a rainy day, thank you.   There would be no internal conflict about feeling compelled to go outside to work up a sweat and soak up the elusive sun rays.   There would only be the cozy invitation to stay inside to read and write and sleep.

I know I’m not alone in this disorder.  Many of us are closet sufferers but would never admit it in polite company.  To complain about sunny days is perceived as meteorologically, spiritually and poetically incorrect.  It is time to acknowledge that many of us are in this wet boat rowing together.

Robert Frost (definitely not a northwesterner) confessed his own case of desolaration in the first stanza of his poem November Guest:

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.

And Jack Handey, the satirist, summarizes the real reason for the guilty pleasure of the northwest native in liking rain:

“If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is ‘God is crying.’
And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is ‘Probably because of something you did.”

Okay, okay, I guess we’ve been really naughty to have so much rainfall in the last month. We should repent for our misbehavior and eventually God’s tears will dry up and the sun would shine again.

Then again, maybe God likes a good rain and a good cry as much as we do.

8 thoughts on “God is Weeping

  1. I suffer deeply from this yet unnamed (but much needed DSMV category) as well and I thank you for naming it so clearly: “The grayer the day, the wetter the sky–> a lightening of the heart and the spirit: precipilicity (felicity arising from precipitation)”. I now will add PRECIPILICITY into casual conversations and be glad to work my out of the closet.

    Emily…this post is just so priceless on many levels!!! Thank you for darkening up my day!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. i loved this, too! living in the willamette valley where my wagon train ancestors chose to settle, this is really all i’ve known. (but my short stint in san diego was also “family” fine!) i love fires and cozy-ing up with books and crosswords and listening to the world outside. thanks for being happy in our sogginess!! (the snow is coming…)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This was a very interesting read, Emily. Living here in sunny FL, I love when it rains for days on end (as it is now). That constant sunshine is not a friend of mine. The Jack Handey quote–how fun is that?!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I enjoyed your reverse SAD!  What is the spikey persimmon-looking fruit? Thanks for your wonderful blog!  Enjoy tuning in while traveling! Bob

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 2 people

  5. ADORED this! Exactly how I feel and people look at me as tho i’ve got a screw loose at my lament at Winter’s end, and rejoicing at another rainy day…..and don’t even get me started if a snow flake should fall! Glad to know i’m not alone…..someone understands. 🙂 ♥

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your comments are whimsical, Emily. I enjoyed them. My most dismal month is November. I called it my ”mad’ month. Standard time is back, went to work in the dark and came home in the dark. The Christmas advertising assault blares out from all sides in early October and gets more frantic as we reach Christmas Eve and the sacred commemoration of our Savior’s birth. The very next day the media is still trying to pull us in with ‘after-Christmas sales of the overpriced ‘stuff’ that we did not need (the poor and homeless surely could have used a part of our largesse).

    Liked by 1 person

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