The erratic drumming of falling water beads, pounding incessantly on the aluminum shell of a window air conditioner and reverberating throughout the high-ceilinged room – this is the sound of a war waged by the rain, against my senses, and has been the bane and boon of a night in my Boston bedroom.
At first it is jarring, especially if the rain has been fine, or more of a mist, where the rivulets of water don’t begin running for hours after the overcast haze has begun. Then the first few attacks are startling and obnoxious, as a bit of disbelief gives rise to anger at the relentlessness of the random yet steady assault of drops. It would be torturous to some, but I’ve grown accustomed to it, and it comes with the territory of a rainy patch.
As the night wears on, and the rain refuses to let up, the tapping takes on a different tone, moving from agitated annoyance to reassuring comfort. The din becomes a buffer, especially when the silence has become overbearing. Disruption can be a welcome distraction from thought, the way those recordings of oceans or rainforests provide background noise to aid in sleep.
At the start of the irregular cadence of drips and pops and snare beats, I always think I’ll go crazy. I toss and turn a bit if sleep doesn’t come soon, half-cursing, half-muttering at the uninvited noise. I work out strategies of clever invention, cone-shaped objects designed to gently absorb the pitter-patter, or a simple tray where the first minute of rain pounds upon it, but eventually softens its own blow. In the end, the mind is distracted enough to allow for sleep to sneak in, and by the middle of the night it has become a comforting drone.
Then, upon waking to find a glass of water or padding across the hardwood to use the bathroom, the sound is a friend I didn’t realize I had, a balm on the scary silence the night usually affords.
A reminder that we are not in control of this world. A gentle tap on the shoulder that someone else – God or the universe or some other power – is still in command. An echo of every rainstorm that came before, a foreshadowing of every rainstorm to come.Back to Blog