The rain may wash it away, but there will still be spots.
The rain may wash it away, but there will still be spots.
Wind, rain, and umbrella.
This month has been dedicated to the topic of rain, and the Midwest has gotten quite a bit of rain these past few weeks. If I believed in luck (good or bad) I’d think I spoke the rain up. But luck isn’t to blame as much as a run of bad weather. That run of bad weather has lasted through this Memorial Day weekend. Today we got a little more than rain where I live.
On my way home from running a few errands I got caught in quite a storm. It started with some fast moving dark clouds. Those dark clouds quickly released rain, heavy rain. I’m talking the kind of rain that limited visibility to about 100 feet. Then the hail started falling. It wasn’t the largest hail I’ve seen, these were marble sized. The hail storm was brief, about five minutes. The rain stopped about ten minutes after that and the sun came out. It was that bright sun with that eerie kind of quite that makes Midwesterners a little nervous. About a minute after the nervousness set in I could hear the local tornado sirens. I got home, gathered up the cat, spent a half hour in my basement, and now I’m typing this (after no tornadoes touched down near me). I’ve never been a fan of hail (nobody sings or dances in that stuff) and the tornado siren causes its own sort of anxiety. That siren is meant to give us a warning to take shelter. Anybody who has seen the aftermath of a tornado knows that the warning isn’t protection and shelter is sometimes just a matter of luck (which is hard to accept if you don’t believe in it).
I know a lot of people have been complaining about the amount of rain we have been getting lately, but a tornado siren sure can put those complaints in perspective. We’ve been lucky where I live. There hasn’t been any flooding or serious damage caused by the rain. Yes, it’s been a soggy few weeks. Yardwork has been put on hold and picnics have been canceled because of the rain, but the sound of a tornado siren is a reminder that there is something worse than rain out there.
Have you ever watched a movie that played out exactly the way you thought it would? Have you ever watched a movie with a simple plot, no dramatic reveals, and characters with very little development? Hard Rain from 1998 fits the bill, and you need to get on the interwebs and stream it posthaste if you haven’t seen it. Why? Because, sometimes it’s good to crack a beer, pour a bowl of flaming hots, and have some fun watching a predictable flick.
I’m not going to bother with any sort of critical analysis of Hard Rain. For those interested in a critical analysis I have two words for you, Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman has said in interviews that people shouldn’t bother watching this movie, but who wants to pass up a chance to see Morgan Freeman playing an outlaw (wearing a cowboy hat and sporting an earring)? But maybe you think, -I’m going to listen to Morgan Freeman and pass.- I politely disagree with Mr. Freeman’s recommendation, and I have two words for those who agree with him, Christian Slater. Hard Rain has the lead actor from True Romance. Maybe you haven’t seen True Romance (or 3000 Miles to Graceland). If that’s the case I have two words for you, Randy Quaid. This movie has the alien ass kicker from Independence Day (maybe you know him better as Cousin Eddie). If you’re not a fan of Randy Quaid I have two words for you, Minnie Driver. Hard Rain has Grosse Pointe Blank’s Minnie Driver and she’s British. Maybe you haven’t seen Grosse Pointe Blank or maybe you have something against the British. I have two last words for you, Betty White. ‘Nuff said.
Movies with complex plots and dramatic reveals can be wonderful viewing experiences. In depth character studies can add layers to already incredible films. But sometimes you may be in the mood for a movie that’s simple popcorn fun. If you are looking for a movie with lots of rain, a fair amount of gun play, and something that isn’t too cerebral then Hard Rain is worth a watch.
Hard Rain (1998) with Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, Randy Quaid, Minnie Driver, and Betty White. Directed by Michael Salomon.
“I woke to the sound of rain.”
The Bell Jar
How many rainy days have been spent at cafes, bars, sub shops, and such? How much time has been spent drinking countless coffees, nursing beers, and trying to decide between a Maxwell Street Polish and a gyro platter? How was time used on those rainy days? Was that time used to read, write, edit photographs, make plans, or reconnect with old friends (liking posts doesn’t count). Rainy days are a good time to bunker down and get shit done. Rainy days are also a good time to relax and let it all wait for a little while.
Rainy days provide choices. Go to the local the coffee shop, get hyped up on caffeine, and knock out that stack of work that has been casting a shadow over the desk? Go to the corner bar, order a pint, and read a few chapters of that Graham Greene novel? Maybe a rainy day is best spent at a sub shop with an old friend arguing why feta cheese is the best cheese of all cheeses? However the rainy day is spent it’s important to remember one thing: if you enjoy how you spend your time the time is not wasted.
Why does rain make an already romantic scene better (fanboys need only think about the kiss scene from the 2002 Spider-Man to know what I’m talking about)? Maybe that’s a bit too big of a topic for the space I have here, but rain and romantic moments do often go together in literature. One of the best examples of this combination can be found in Kate Chopin’s short story “The Storm.” Chopin doesn’t merely use a rain storm as setting or backdrop in her story. Chopin demonstrates how passion, sex, and rain storms can be viewed as natural phenomenon.
A rain storm is one of the central events of Chopin’s story. This storm comes on quick taking the principle characters by surprise. Alcee Laballiere barely escapes the storm by seeking shelter at Calixta’s house. Calixta is so engrossed with sewing she does not notice the approaching storm. Both characters decide to wait out the storm after they shutter the windows and doors. Alcee and Calixta are both married, he to Clarisse she to Bobinot, but they have a shared history from their younger days in Assumption Parrish (I could write a few paragraphs on the possible symbolism there). It is during this storm that their passions from those younger days lead to a sexual encounter. With the passing of the storm and their afternoon of passionate sex it appears as if all is right in the world. It is this natural equilibrium at the end of the story that establishes the connection between biology (sex) and weather (rain).
Chopin is subtle when connecting biology (sex) and weather (rain) as natural phenomenon, but there are a couple of examples to support this. The first is Chopin’s omission of moralizing. Chopin’s imagery of both storm and sexual moment are vivid but moral judgements concerning the events are missing. These events are neither good or bad in Chopin’s view. They are simply presented as natural phenomenon that occur. The second example can be found at the end of the story. Alcee leaves Calixta after the storm and writes a loving letter to his wife, Clarisse. Calixta, Bobinot, and their son Bibi spend the evening sharing a family dinner. After these events are established Chopin ends the story with the line, “So the storm passed and everyone was happy.” The storm has passed without causing any permanent damage. Likewise, Alcee and Calixta’s passionate encounter has also passed without apparently causing any permanent damage. Chopin is implying that human passion and sex (biology) and rain storms (weather) can be viewed in a similar way, as natural phenomenon.
Rain can dress up a romantic scene, but Kate Chopin demonstrates that rain can be used as much more than setting. If moralizing is removed from the ideas of passion and sex then they can be viewed as biological forces that drive humans in much the same way rain storms can be viewed as a natural phenomenon of weather.
“The Storm” by Kate Chopin