Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Language of Rain

by Drew Martin
Rain is a very interesting medium. It is an amazing delivery method for water and as a visual system it makes surfaces shiny and reflective. It deepens colors and changes withered browns into lush greens. Rain also has its own language. It shares the dynamics of music such as pianissimo and fortissimo as well as the changes of these dynamics such as crescendo and calmando. It comes dal niente (from nothing) and leaves morendo (dying away).

Last night I listened to the rain falling on the roof. Separating the sound from what I knew it to be, it reminded me of the chewing noises a mouse that lives above the ceiling makes every night. It also sounded like dry corn kernels popping. Rain's Morse-code-like rhythms send notices of relief to drought-stricken areas. There are also more ominous messages about ruined plans and cancellations. I get stressed when it heavily rains in my area because it tells me my basement will flood.

Pictured here, Rue de Paris, temps de pluie (Paris street, rainy day) by Gustave Caillebotte, 1877, at the Art Institute of Chicago.