The allure of invisibility: Looking at rain from an Arizonan's perspective

'The promise of rain becomes the promise of a new perspective — a changed way of seeing the world for a few days'

Growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona, where rain is a rare commodity, I become giddy at the sight of gray clouds in the window. Rain, above all else, brings a new perspective to my eyes. 

Under the blanket of rain, the world feels subtly cooler. I often find myself less hot-headed and more go-with-the-flow when there are a few dense nimbus clouds in the sky. 

The cold, breezy weather coupled with chilly precipitation and wispy clouds means that the city of Tempe — where I live currently — looks vastly different than normal. I notice even the people are different; they seem to be a bit softer too. When the rain is slowly beating down on the window, it brings a powerful, almost therapeutic sense of constancy and stability.

Part of the allure of rain, to me, comes with the aspect of anonymity. Anonymity is intimately tied with introversion, as opposed to extroversion, which lends itself to publicity. As a total introvert and one who would prefer to observe rather than judge, I feel at home in the rain.

My favorite scene involves going for a long walk in the rain with a hoodie on and my identity concealed. In such a way, one can passively and anonymously observe and take note of the vast occurrences of daily life.

Much of this goes to my core identity as an observationalist. I see gathering information about my environment as more useful than making mental commentary; putting this into practice in daily life, however, is difficult. 

Throughout the course of daily life, it can sometimes feel as though we are caught in a time loop — we live the same routine on a cyclic schedule, and our life is caught in a rut. This paralyzing feeling of stagnancy is exactly why I adore the rain in Arizona.

When it rains in Arizona, it immediately feels as though my emotional slate has begun anew, and the city of Tempe carries a soft blue hue. 

The promise of rain becomes the promise of a new perspective — a changed way of seeing the world for a few days, often with the end product being a greater sense of calm. To experience this new perspective along with achieving a better sense of awareness feels grounding. 

Inevitably, the rain dries up and the weather in Arizona returns to normal, and we return to life as it was before. In the hot weather, we are forced to take off our hoodies and go back to wearing gym shorts and jean skirts. We shuffle back into our respective places and life goes back to normal.

Rainy days feel as though they are a fantasy world in Arizona; their occurrences are so rare and infrequent they are bringers of joy.

The world we currently inhabit is increasingly public and open, and I struggle deeply with this. My preferred life would be quiet with plenty of books and hot cups of tea. 

The rain manages to transport the hot desert of Arizona to this realm, and though temporary, the fleeting feelings of peace and contentment are well worth the while. It’s easy to understand why Arizonans such as myself love the rain so much — it’s a wholly different world. 


Reach the reporter at cbeal4@asu.edu and follow @beal_camden on Twitter. 

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