I’ve been thinking about rain. We have had it in unprecedented amounts this summer so it’s not unnatural to think about it. Questions emerge, like: how is it that rain comes down sometimes in small drops and sometimes in large drops? In fact, why does it come down as drops at all? I learned in school that rain happens when the air becomes saturated with moisture. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air, so as air cools, drops form and, because of gravity, they fall, hitting anyone underneath.

But why separate drops? Why doesn’t it just all drop at once? And, if it is going to be drops, why are they sometimes larger and sometimes smaller?

And what accounts for ethnicity in rain? It’s been my experience that different countries have different kinds of rain. In Japan they have a season for rain and a season for no rain, separated by seasons for some rain. In the rainy season it just always rains, most of the time, in a methodical but not exciting manner.

In England, on the other hand, it could rain anytime, and probably will, but you don’t need to worry about it because you will naturally carry an umbrella and, even if you don’t, you can always step into a shop for a few minutes and wait for the shower to pass. Store keepers like it to rain. In fact, you can probably just keep on walking because the rain won’t be that hard or that long anyway.

Irish rain is mistier than English rain.

New York rain is brusque and businesslike: it comes down hard and gets the job done.

Hawaiian rain is the oddest. I remember lying beside a swimming pool in Honolulu in bright sun with a cloudless sky when it began to rain. Yes, I was told, it comes down on the volcano and gets blown over here.

All of which leaves many questions unanswered. But mostly, why are there rain drops and why are they different sizes some times from other times? Also, why doesn’t anyone else worry about this?

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