Rain, rain go away—per favore.

When I was a kid, we used to say, “April showers bring May flowers.” But we can change that, in Italy, this year to “April showers are moving in for the duration, and they’ve brought their grumpy in-laws with them.” Or something.


I’ve always loved Spring weather for the drama it brings to everyday life. But this is taking it a bit far. Every time we have a lovely, sunny day (or half day), it is followed instantly by more cold, more hysterical wind-blowing, more lightening (with its all-bark-and-no-bite sidekick thunder) and more rattly nerves.


As I write, though, it’s dawning on me that how you live through weather is largely a matter of expectation. The Milanese are prone to complain about this rain, but that’s because it isn’t what they think should be happening on their corner of the world stage right now. With good reason, they picture themselves a sunny people, living in a sunny clime. This just isn’t who they are supposed to be at the end of May. (Truth be told, though, they do seem to have the most fashionable rain boots I’ve ever seen, so it didn’t take them utterly by surprise, did it?)

NOTE: The rain boots you see here are not the aforementioned, fashionable Milanese rain boots. They are mine. Sensible, rubbery and flat.


The clouds have been stunning—floor-to ceiling-affairs with steep, pearlescent walls and dark grey underbellies. You know the kind I’m talking about—they often have radial “God rays” shooting out from the back of them.


Right now, though, there’s just that glowing, featureless white that lets you know you are living in a big fat cloud with the sun right behind it. Another change is afoot. We should have sun by this afternoon but storms again by tomorrow morning. Do you see what I mean? It’s manic-depressive. Su e giù. Up and down.


But even as I join the rest of Milan in my complaints, I have to rejoice. All these meteorological capricci (tantrums) are stunning in their own right. And as much as they test your fiber, they also make your heart sing. Nature is doing what she does best (showing who’s boss). Green, thanks to all that water, is bustin’ out all over. And there’s that smell…that delicious, clean rain-on-pavement, ions-forever smell that should be bottled and sold as aroma therapy.


When I lived in Portland, Oregon rain was the way-it-was nine months out of the year. Liquid sunshine, we called it. No one complained very much, as I recall. And no one even bothered to carry an umbrella. You went about your business, and your complexion looked ten years younger than it should have. So there was, in the end, nothing to complain about. It just was. And so, I realize is this. It just is. You enjoy what comes. When it rains, you’re best off loving the rain. When it stops, you go out for a walk.

No one said it better than Dr. Seuss:

The storm starts
when the drops start dropping.
When the drops stop dropping
then the storm starts stopping.


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11 Responses to Rain, rain go away—per favore.

  1. Janette Gross says:

    We could use some of your rain here in California!

  2. debbibaron says:

    Oh you have no idea of how much we here in Paris want the rain to go away. It has rained almost every day since January and enough is really enough! At least it looks like you have seen the sun in Milan, here we have seen it maybe a couple of hours every couple of weeks and hardly recognize it! Talk about grouchy!

    • Hang in there! Summer IS coming. Speaking of which, what do you think it’s gonna be like this year? Are there any predictions on that end? I remember summer’s in France when it might as well have been fall or winter. Others with one canicule after another. If you were a betting girl…?

  3. Debra Kolkka says:

    I don’t care any more how lovely and dramatic the rain and storms can be…I am SICK of it!!!!

  4. Mary says:

    Brilliant photos, as always, Charlotte, and text to match! Everyone I know in Poitiers is completely fed up with the incessant rain and chill and my vintner friends are starting to worry about the harvest. Here in California, we have lovely fluffy clouds but no rain is expected before October and I miss it!

    • It’s always really REALLY interesting to see how the weather is reflected in the wine yield. I find that fascinating. I know what fascinates me is their sufferance, but that’s the way it is. Farming of any sort has always been a dicy way to make a living. You never know what Nature’s gonna serve up. Toss in some additional climate change and it’s anyone’s guess.

  5. Anna says:

    Rainy here too (what else is new?) but much cooler than usual at this time of year. We’ve been getting spurts of summery, followed by big blobs of blustery fall.

    • That’s exactly what it’s like here, Banana. And every beautiful day is like a torture! Because the next time you open your eyes or turn around, the rain and cold are back again. I am so ready for light and warmth, I can’t tell you! I do remember the summers on the West Coast though…you wait. It’ll get there, and then it’ll be total, full-on gloriousness for days and months on end.

  6. dayphoto says:

    Weather…always a topic of discussion…and here the same…we worry always about the weather and what is happening to effect the crops!


    • Linda, I just checked out your blog. It is sooo interesting to me. Your and Celi’s lives are fascinating to me. I came “this” close to moving to South Dakota for the love of a corn farmer, so I follow both of your lives with interest. I ended up going in an entirely other direction, but I often wonder.

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