Monday, December 7, 2009

Come Rain or Come Shine

A customer of this blog, who lives in Mauritius, has written to observe the almost universal tendency of  radio and TV weather forecasters to assume, as he puts it: “sun good, rain very bad.”  Even for the arid Sahara, the BBC mindset is to rhapsodize over “a really nice sunny day in North Africa.” On the other hand, in Mauritius, says the customer, the common reaction to a thundershower is, “We had some really good rain today!” 

Suggesting that rain has gotten a bad rap, the Mauritian reader reminds us of Shelley’s “Cloud” (“I bring fresh showers to the thirsting flowers”) and Shakespeare’s Portia, for whom the “gentle rain from heaven” is like “mercy.” And don’t forget Buddy DeSylva’s lilting lyric for “April Showers”: “So when it’s raining, have no regrets / Because it isn’t raining rain, you know, it’s raining violets.”

For anyone who requires geographical edification: the Republic of Mauritius, a member of the British Commonwealth, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, explored in the sixteenth century by the Portuguese and the Dutch, who named it for Holland’s Prince Maurits. Mauritius was once the home of the now extinct flightless bird called a dodo (from the Portuguese doudo, “silly or stupid.”)

The Bard of Buffalo Bayou, who has never been to Mauritius but is considered by many to be the last surviving dodo, could not be deterred from spewing this pluvial apologia:

    The rain in Mauritius
    Is not as pernicious
    As forecasters might have you think.
    The precipitation
    Provides irrigation,
    A wash, and a bath, and a drink.
    Owes an apology
    For saying rain’s something to rue.
    If it weren’t for the water,
    We’d all be much hotter,
    And have no way to flush in the loo.

1 comment:

  1. To the odes in praise of rain be sure to add Chaucer's:

    Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
    The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
    And bathed every veyne in swich licour
    Of which vertu engendred is the flour...