Thursday, January 30, 2003

Snowy, Gray and Wet

It's a subdued, overcast, contemplative sort of day in Richmond; there's snow coming down, and sticking to everything except roads. I imagine that'll start to change around four o'clock or so, at which point all the Richmonders will panic and head for home at once. I think I'll set out around 6. I know that I can drive in ice; it's everyone else I'm unsure about.

Still, it's a nice day. Almost everyone around me has been in meetings, which means I can actually get work done. I also enjoy walking in cold rain, even downtown. Somehow amid all the falling flakes and hissing, hurtling cars, it's quiet. That works for me.

I wonder why I find rain so compelling and soothing. I suppose that it's not entirely strange; anything that emanates white noise is supposed to tap into the reptilian forebrain in ways that soothe and relax. Surf does the same thing, as do random-white-noise generators.

But even visually, rain transforms a landscape: it makes the scene moodier, with its edges both sharply defined by wet reflections, and obscured by falling droplets. Reflections play all sorts of optical tricks, too: a stop light reflects in puddles beneath a car's tires; a "Don't Walk" sign, inverted, undercuts a coin-op newspaper stand. People sprout umbrellas of all sizes, colors, and states of repair, and even walk differently.

Where am I going with this? I dunno - I just like walking in the rain. :-)


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