Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Yesterday it started raining in Northern California and my thoughts turned instantly to Arizona. I started going through my wardrobe deciding which clothes I needed to take with me, which items from my office. Our condo is actually well stocked with clothes basics but there are some items I need for when I'm giving talks etc. And some favorites that have to come with me to both places.

Now I know that rain is a good thing. After a dry summer we need a good wet winter in California to fill those reservoirs, prevent fires and make things grow. But I'm sorry. I just don't like rain, or cold--apart from the occasional crisp day on the ski slopes. Other people say that they couldn't live without the four seasons, but I would be happy with sun every day. In fact I feel cheated if I don't wake to blue skies.

This aversion to rain and dark skies is strange, considering I was born and grew up in a country where rain and dark skies are the norm for much of the year. But I realize now that I've always suffered from SAD--the seasonal disorder that makes the body not work well in lack of sunlight. Not only do I find it hard to leave the comfort of my bed in winter, I actually feel depressed. Clearly my body was designed to hibernate and not emerge until springtime (no wonder I've always had an affinity with bears!)

But I have a book that needs to be written during the winter months. So I do the next best thing to hibernation--I escape to Arizona. I wake to the sun sending stripes on my wall through the fronds of the palm tree outside my window. We go for long walks in the desert and take photos of cactus and birds and the most incredible sunsets. And I've come to the conclusion that the stork actually dropped me into the wrong country at birth. I wasn't supposed to be British. The Brits put on their wellies and raincoats and stomp merrily through the puddles, chanting things like, "This rain will be good for the cabbages."

And I've just realized that I've set my next Royal Spyness book on the French Riviera where my heroine has joined all the English who flee south for the winter. So maybe I'm not such a strange bird after all. Maybe most of my compatriots would seek sunshine if they could, and indeed many Brits now own homes in Spain or take a winter holiday in the Caribbean. And maybe my heroine is becoming an alter ego.

Hands up--who likes the four seasons? Who would opt for eternal summer?


  1. "...Stomp merrily through the puddles, chanting things like, "This rain will be good for the cabbages."
    I'm originally from a green, hilly part of the U.S., complete with four seasons. Then I lived on an island off the coast of Florida for 9 years of perpetual summer. I never expected to miss the seasons as badly as I did. When I moved back home, I realized that it wasn't necessarily the temperatures I missed, but the smells that came with each season and the memories that accompanied each scent. I love rain because the smell takes me back to spending whole afternoons doing nothing but getting lost in a good mystery. In fact, I call rainy weather 'reading weather'. When I read your first Evans book, I was in Florida and it made me so homesick for rain.

    My husband, however, LOVES perpetual sunshine. :)

  2. Much as I love sunshine, I grew up in a semi-arid area. We didn't really have much spring or fall. The seasons pretty much went straight from dry and hot summer to dry and cold winter. Rain still feels like a novelty to me, and I can never get enough of it, even when I moved to a place where it rained on a normal basis. Who knows, though. That might change if I moved somewhere it was rainy all year round.

  3. I moved from the Pacific Northwest, where it rains a great deal of the fall to spring, to sunny Hawaii eight years ago. Tropical showers at night provided the rain for the abundant exotic flowers and trees. It was sunny and warm day after day after day. After six years, I had to move back to the cool fall nights and brilliant leaves, the rainy cold winters with snow in the mountains, and the long rainy springs. Yes, my arthritis reminds me that it is cold and raining, but I don't mind it at all as long as there are green trees and my garden is happy.

  4. Like you, Rhys, I dislike rain. I'm made for sunny dry and warm climate. I'm an Arizona native who lived most of my life elsewhere, saturated with rain and four seasons. My hope of a full year of glowing Arizona sun after retirement was shattered by monsoon summer rains and winter temps in the low twenties. I fled to northern California where I relish the site of green Altamont hills in the winter, but hope it only rains on days I stay home to write with the blinds closed.

  5. After living decades in the Southeast and the last 15 years in Texas, I've come to realize that I've had enough sunshine to last me 2 or 3 lifetimes. In fact, I've developed reverse SAD and become deeply depressed in the summer. Give me gray skies and rain. Maybe it's negative ions. Maybe it's cooler temperatures. Maybe it's genetic memory, since my ancestors came from Scotland. Whatever it is, I spend summers inside as much as possible with the shades drawn.