No life without rain

A rainy day in Venice, June 2008

A rainy day in Venice, June 2008

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” —  John Updike

As I write this, it’s a rainy day outside with the chill of winter still hanging on.  There is an atmosphere of quiet gloom.  My moods are strongly influenced by the weather, so I really need to live in a predominantly sunny climate. Troubles seem a little lighter when the sun is shining.

Still, there’s something about the rain that connects to my deepest emotions and leaves me daydreaming through the melancholy.  It’s nice occasionally to spend a cozy day indoors with a cup of tea and some extra time for reading or other indoor pursuits.  While I much prefer sunshine, rain brings balance and nourishment for the earth and for me.

Here are three of my favorite songs about rain. I hope you can find today time to enjoy one or all of them.


  1. Thanks, BeLOVE Julia, for sharing ‘all’ the gifts today. Not only a beautiful scene – which in itself would’ve been enough + stating something that we’ll benefit from doing – change of attitude = blessings seen – I needed that brought to mind today- as it’s my last day I know of to see my grandblessing until when I don’t know [still sad court situtation] yet I can fret about this or I can capture & memorize & store in my heart what i’m given + I’ll have the songs you share! When woke-up this morning I had no idea; how many gifts, I was going to receive from your post – You out did yourself this morning, sweet Julia!!!
    I’ll remember that thru out the day – God loves to give abundant gifts – i’ve just gotta come with open heart and hands + sense of AWE … agape Love ;+)

    • Thank you Kate, I have another gift to give you today – we just learned from Jeff’s MRI results that his liver tumors are now less than half the size they were just before he started chemo. “The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:23) We will continue to pray that your family is reunited and you will bear up in the meantime. The sweet photo of Austin is a bright spot on my blog.

      • Received those Awesome & Joyous ‘Jesus Bumps’ this morning BeLove Julia, as I was reading yours & Jeff’s good news, from my toes to every hair on my head – Just wanting to shout: Yes, Lord! Thank You, Sweet Jesus!!! It reminded that : He knows every hair on our head, yours, Jeff’s, the boys, Austin, Patience Rose, all the families of the world – Yet, that doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop ‘pestering’ Him about all of us. > And expecting more JBs too! Give Jeff and boys a hug from their sister in Christ. [Julia, knowing our hearts become heavy taking on the prayers of other; yet, won’t receive those awesome JBs that helps remind us His got some instore for us too! Everything I hear in NC isn’t ‘good news’ yet I keep telling Satan – you don’t know my Papa like I do – so yesterday I was able to let go of all I’ld heard & just bask in the love & joy with my grandblessing. I actually got 3 hours with Patience Rose at her nursery school. Knowing I don’t walk through this alone – I’ve got an angel army with me – Mighty Prayer Warriors from all over the world. My family is truly blessed no matter what the devil says – truly, just don’t value that ole devil’s opinion.] Oh, How He Loves us!!

        • Kate, I’m so happy to hear that you had a lovely visit with Patience Rose! Yes, we will keep the “pestering” prayers for everyone who need divine help right now, and as you say, there are so many of us. Thanks for being here and sharing your faith!

  2. And all this time, I thought that last one was just the theme song to “Botch Casually and Some Dunce Kid”! (Another “Mad Magazine” reference from Julia’s and Eric’s youth)

    • Believe it or not, I don’t remember that MAD title or even the satire of it (although I do remember dozens of them and feel that, Harvard Lampoon notwithstanding, nothing has ever equaled the many laughs I got from MAD in childhood). Its satire was surprisingly sophisticated to be so accessible to a childish mind. I haven’t read MAD for many years and don’t even know if it is still published, but the subscription you gave me for Christmas one year is one of my all-time favorite presents.

  3. Jason Preater

    It’s raining in Spain as well. It just doesn’t seem to want to stop this year!

    • OK, I am just dying to make the obvious joke here by asking if it stays mainly in the plain – but I’ll avoid that! Seriously, I wonder whether our notions of Spain as a very sunny climate are valid? If so, it’s high on my list of places I want to go! Thanks for visiting and commenting. All this rain will bless the earth with a kaleidoscope of vegetation, or so I hope.

  4. merry

    Rain is the balance we need to enjoy down time. I need sunshine to give me energy. Its amusing how in winter we want to be warm, in the summer we want to be cool~/. lol
    Enjoy your day, rain or sunny.

    • Yes, I’ve often reflected how, despite my vivid imagination, in winter I find it hard to imagine being hot or even too warm, and in summer I find it hard to imagine being cool or cold. Sort of a statement about life in general, I guess. It’s actually sunny as I write this, so I’m hoping for a refreshing walk in a few minutes! Thanks for being here.

  5. Seymour

    Rain is grace indeed. I’ve always felt that way, but I’ve never read any words that capture the thought as ably as Mr. Updike’s. Thanks for sharing that quote. Maybe I will brandish it the next time someone asks me whether I need an umbrella.

    • Thanks Seymour. My older son also loves the rain, and this was a kind of tribute to his birthday today. I’m glad you like Updike’s quote. He seemed to understand the singular place rain plays in life (figuratively and literally) more than many of his contemporaries, and verbally, has the graceful agility to articulate it. I appreciate your visits here!

  6. Mike Bertoglio

    Did not know the McCartney song. Not sure I like it. Heres another one- “And I think its going to rain.”
    Tracy is great.

    • Hi Mike, McCartney’s song “Too Much Rain” had to grow on me. Initially I was drawn to the piano music, great for walking, but I must admit the lines “It’s not right, in one life, too much rain…it’s too much for anyone, too hard for anyone who wants a happy and peaceful life” really captured how I feel many days, especially when we kept getting bad news about Matt’s heart or Jeff’s cancer. But despite the song’s acknowledgment of sorrow that often seems unfair, it seems to be balanced by an underlying upbeat and the determination to keep going. Thanks to the link to Newman’s song; I could read the lyrics, but the link you sent to the music, for some reason sent me to a song called “Yellow Man” – I tried searching the site for “I think it’s going to rain” but could not find it. I’ll have to look it up later. Tracy Chapman is wonderful, I like pretty much everything she’s ever done that I’ve heard. “Fast Car” was the first of hers I ever heard and I still think it’s amazing, almost like Steinbeck’s genius in a different context and set to music.

    • Mike this is the link that went to a different song – obviously not your mistake as the correct title is built into the link! Maybe they will fix it eventually.

  7. Mike Bertoglio

    OK. I will go with “Raindrops keep falling on my head.” Good theme song for Seattle. This was the first song we heard when we returned to US after two years in Africa during a Peace Corps stint. It was in the movie, ” Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid.” So it takes me back. Way back.
    The picts of Chaplin in the U Tube video are also poignant; a very sad face and a funny-funny demeanor–classic. Really no modern equivalent of him I can think of.

    • Mike, I read someplace that the McCartney song I linked was influenced by the Chaplin movie that featured the song “Smile” – the title of the movie escapes me now but I can see the similarities in the two songs. I don’t know too much about Chaplin, but our older son (whose taste in movies is admittedly a bit different – his favorite director is Werner Herzog I think) is quite a fan of the Chaplin movies. I didn’t realize you were with the Peace Corps in Africa! What country?

  8. Mike Bertoglio

    I think if you scroll down on the link you can get the video. It is below the lyrics.

  9. I was just reading a John Updike story today. Funny how that works.

    • He left quite a body of work behind him. Have you read “Pigeon Feathers?” That one may be my favorite of his short stories.

  10. You have to have rain to have the rainbow!! Glad to see the news about Jeff. Love ya.

    • Thanks Amy. Let’s do try to get together for your birthday, even if we don’t make it in time. Email me with some possible times.

  11. Sheila

    Julia, I guess I’ll be the grand finale of the day! The good news regarding Jeff’s MRI was the highlight of my day. I feel sure that the walk you took this afternoon was without your feet ever touching the ground. Sleep well….continued prayers! Sheila

    • Sheila, you pretty well hit the nail on the head; I have been happier than any time since before the diagnosis. We’ll keep each other covered in prayers and someday maybe we’ll look back on the days when Jeff and Bill had us worried to death. Thanks for being here!

  12. Go to bed. Get some sleep!

    • Actually, I’m making a bit of a late night tonight since I don’t have to get up early tomorrow (Jeff is already in bed). We watched Skyfall tonight and I really liked it. After initially being turned off by the idea of Craig as James Bond, I’ve decided the whole fantasy works better with him in the role. A bit less comic and more intriguing, not fodder for another Austin Powers movie — not that there’s anything wrong with Austin Powers; I loved those shows! FWIW, I do think I’ll sleep a bit better tonight :-).

  13. Skyfall is worth a late night. As much as I liked Sean Connery in that role, The latest movie is the best Bond ever.

    • I thought the same thing, but figured it might just seem that way because I’m so happy tonight.

  14. I really enjoyed your quote from John Updike. It’s easy to forget how much nurishment is derived by mother earth and all living creatures from a gentle rain. I think there are so many extreme weather events on the news, people forget we can’t live without the rain. I don’t mind a rainy day, I’ll always find something to do and hopefully open a window so that fresh smell can come on in…love that.

    • Yes, rain really is a blessing, especially during gardening season — I always like being able to skip the watering! And rainy days seem to bring out my imaginative or creative side, as long as I’m able to stay indoors with good books, crafts, etc. I think the news stations try to make the weather sound catastrophic as much as they can, to make sure people keep tuning in to follow it! Easy to say when one is cozy indoors, I guess. In CA the rain often seemed like feast or famine, 9-10 months of NO rain followed by 2-3 months of nothing but. However, I really did get used to having that long rain-free season. When we moved back east I felt surprised the first few times it rained in the summer.

      • Wow, 9-10 months with no moisture must have really depleted resources. Vancouver weather is rainy for most of winter but I know they still get a lot of moisture in summer too.

        • Yes, someone told me that California was called “the golden state” because the grass was usually that color instead of green 🙂 although I don’t know how true that is. Our lawn stayed green but it took a lot of watering and a very good in-ground sprinkler.

  15. Love the quote. Rain is so refreshing and vital. I too am solar powered. But I live in Portland Oregon and we have more rain than sun in the winter. And you don’t have to shovel it. Lovely photo too.

    • Portland is so beautiful. We visited there once while we lived in California and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. I’m sure there will be a photo or two from Portland that shows up here!


  1. The richness of the rain | Defeat Despair

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