09 August 2005

Waking up to a rainy day is a sacred experience and a rarity in Florida. For those of you that live north of the gnat line (somewhere between Valdosta and Macon, Georgia) you have a lot of days where it’s gray and rainy and you wake up to the absence of the sun. In Florida, the sun shines practically every day, with few exceptions. On the exception days, we wake up to rain and for those of us who’s brains are used to a morning injection of the immutable Florida sun, it’s a revelation.

A few years back I had trouble sleeping. I would toss and turn all night. I started reading material about insomnia. Basically it’s the body’s confusion as to when it’s time to wake and when it’s time to rest. So the solution, I reasoned, was to set it straight.

I took melanin when I was ready to go to bed. I kept a strict regimen of ALWAYS going to bed at the same time and always waking up at the same time. I ate more fiber to make sure digestion was not a problem. I replaced my pillows with more back-friendly ones. But most of all, I made sure that first thing in the morning, the Florida sun streamed through my window and hit me square in the face. Over a period of a month, it worked. My sleep cycle returned to normal.

Because I depend so much on the sun to wake me up, Waking up to rain is a surreal experience for me. Like life has somehow been suspended and I’m in this rain world where I can take more time to examine and reflect.

I have an extra cup of coffee or tea. I take more time getting ready for work. I take more care driving to work. I read more.

The neighborhood sounds are different as well. The cars on the street outside are more muffled by the white noise of the water they disperse as they drive by. There are no sounds of construction in the neighborhood and no lawns being cut. The neighborhood is quieter and yet somehow louder.

Also, for those of you who live on the atlantic or pacific ocean, Gulf-coast rain is different. It’s sticky.

Gulf Coast rain makes the air more humid and makes the already stifling heat, more saunautic. It’s a hot steamy day in St. Petersburg, Florida. Let’s go see what the day brings.