I’m Only Happy When It Rains:

Foul Weather Rejuvenation

“I’m only happy when it rains,

I’m only happy when it’s complicated,

And though I know you can’t appreciate it,

I’m only happy when it rains…”

I’m Only Happy When It Rains

by Garbage

I am living in the wrong state. At least the wrong state for me to be happy.

Please, do not misunderstand. I love Colorado. I love living in a state where I get to see the mountains most days of the year, always knowing which way is west and where the weather comes from, usually. But it is Colorado’s weather — those 300+ days of sunshine — where I encounter a real problem.

You see, I love “inclement” weather. Specifically, rain, and even snow would do in a pinch. I don’t just get happy when it rains, I get euphoric. It’s a natural high that occurs when the sky gets overcast, cloudy and dark. Tears of joy come unbidden to my eyes when I hear thunder, and my excitement builds as I hear a thunderstorm moving in. This is my mind and body’s natural reaction to weather other people consider “bad.” However, most of Colorado happens to be a high desert, and whatever precipitation that occurs might as well call itself a miracle. People outside Colorado picture snow on the ski-slopes, but down at lower elevations, it snows far less heavy and far less often. And even heavy snows dry up not just in a matter of days, but within a matter of hours. For us, Spring’s rainy season would be two or two and a half days of nearly continuous rain. That is usually enough to get everything flowering and greening. And then, we get the dry, hot Summer, the usually dry warm Autumn, and, yes, fairly dry, mostly unseasonably warm Winter. It’s gotten worse in the last few years, since we fucked up the weather, with our cars and our air conditioning, with our farting cows and greenhouse effect. I am as guilty as everyone else, so please don’t think I am lecturing, I am no hypocrite. This hot and very dry weather makes my soul feel as if it is shrinking and pruning up, withering inside of me.

I have always loved “bad” weather, and find only a few people who truly understand and empathize. I recently learned about a condition that affects only about two percent of the U.S. population, the opposite of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), called Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder (RSAD). Similar to winter-onset SAD — a condition where the dark, dreary days of cold and “winter gloom” beat people down, RSAD returns every year at about the same time — in the summer months, of high heat, baking, unrelenting sunshine that dries out the land and the soul. Those with RSAD yearn for cooler temperatures and cloud-cover that can be calming, and they find the summer heat oppressive and agitating. The problem with RSAD is that because it is lesser known, a lot of people are misdiagnosed with major depression or anxiety, among other things, when they really just need some rain, thunder, and grey skies. This fits so well with how I am wired, it is comforting to know professionals have also pondered this condition. Even if there is no formal treatment, I know I need a break from all this “good summer weather” when I begin to get sluggishly depressed and cry for no reason at all, because the days seem endless and hellish.

So, while I love my Colorado, I think about living in the Pacific Northwest or the New England area. Either coast would suit me fine, the colder weather, the increased precipitation. Ooh, did I mention the increased precipitation? Rain, rain, and more rain, that is all my little moisture-starved heart desires. If my husband agreed to move there, I would even volunteer to walk the dogs. I would walk them by myself, under the umbrella. I would write, snuggle under a blanket and read to my heart’s content, and then write some more, as the rain pounds or patters on the rooftop. To live somewhere where there would be frequent and wonderful weather — wow, tears are stinging my eyelids right now from happiness I can only imagine.

Sigh. Everything I am thinking of is in the future, and even then, imaginary. My son is still in high school, my husband is very happy at his job. We have another few years to pay off our house, that we love. So no, we are not moving anywhere, not yet. I mean, my poor husband, who would be SAD, would need to get several of those lamps with special lights, one large one for the family room, one for the bedroom, one for his office at work. Also, we would need to frequently travel back to Colorado, to visit my parents, my kiddos, and friends.

Hey, looking on the plus side, at least I don’t live in San Diego — that would just about kill me.

Written by

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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