This Week in Nature: No Rain, No Rose

Like the folk singer, Joe Purdy, proclaims, most of us like the rain the most when it stops, but did you know rain has countless benefits for the environment, and for you? So let’s dive into some of these benefits and get over our rainy-day blues.

For those of us who live in northeast Ohio, we know rain all too well, especially during spring. Between May and June, we can expect roughly 36 days of rain, opens a new window, well over half of the days. Beyond that, the northeast region can expect between 60 and 70, opens a new window sunshine-filled days a year. This can be attributed to arctic air masses coming out of Canada and across the Great Lakes, and tropical air masses coming from the south. Ohio has incredibly unpredictable weather, but you already knew that, didn’t you?

Rainy days are inevitable in Ohio. People all over the world find themselves negatively affected by rain, but it just so happens that rain can be a good thing, and there are ways to combat these negative rainy-day feelings.

Rain is Good for the Earth

It is no mystery that rain is a natural watering can. If it weren’t for rain, we wouldn’t be able to bare witness to the luscious growth of trees, or the blooming of flowers and other plants. Just think — without the blooming of many flowers, bees wouldn’t have a food source. Without bees, there couldn’t be a you or me.

Rain is vital to all life and components of the environment on Earth. Animals receive their water from watered vegetation, and static and flowing water. Rain also helps cool the air and replenishes rivers, marshes, and other types of waterways, which furnishes fresh water to fish, amphibians, and reptiles.

Rainwater also assists with freshwater storage. Rain is soaked up by the soil and eventually hits aquafers in the bedrock. The bedrock stores a large amount of static water, and it is from these aquafers that man-made water wells for drinking and bathing are produced. Without rain, we couldn’t bathe!

Rain is Good for You

Rain is actually healthy — that’s right, as annoyed you might be when you wake up and see that the clouds are crying, keep in mind that rain can provide multiple benefits to your mind and overall health. For instance, walking in the rain boosts your metabolism and allows you to burn more calories at a faster pace! That’s right, when walking in rain, it’s harder to naturally stay warm; therefore, your body has to work harder to heat itself up. Rain is also good for the hair and skin. Rain does not contain minerals or particles that may be present in shower or tap water, and does not come into contact with dust. Walking in the rain can be cleansing! Rain can also produce the petrichor affect, opens a new window. This phenomenon, if you will, happens when rain falls on dry soil, and produces the luscious earthy smell. This aroma can actually help alleviate the mind and reduce stress when breathed in. So while rain might not be your favorite weather, it may help to keep in mind that taking a stroll in the rain can actually benefit you. When you are feeling blue when watching rain drops trickle down your window, throw on a rain jacket and get out in the rain — embrace the rain drops and the idea of getting wet, and it may leave you smiling.

Why You Should Hike in the Rain

Again, going out when it’s raining may not sound like your cup of tea, but let’s try to think of some ways to restructure your view of going out in the rain — there are some benefits to be found!

  1. Hiking in the rain creates moments of solitude

You are sure to find less people on the trails on rainy days. Solitude and loneliness are two different words for a reason. Solitude in nature is the best way to have an intimate relationship with your surroundings, and truly live in the moment. The rain even silences your footsteps, meaning all the sounds you hear will be that of Mother Nature in action. The earthy smells and natural music of rainfall in the forest creates a mystical backdrop, and because most people translate rain as bad day, you can enjoy the wonders of the trail all by yourself.

  1. Rain brings out rare beauty

Rainy days comes with the chances of seeing typically rare animals, such as frogs, salamanders, turtles, and newts! These animals aren’t often spotted on sun-filled days. Let’s also not forgot the possibility of seeing a rainbow. Without a rain storm, we’d never be granted the wonderful sights of seven-color phenomenon!

  1. Rain helps us appreciate the little things

Rain drops paint themselves on an already natural art-filled world! Look around on a hike in the forest, and you are sure to notice raindrops glittering on a leaf and moving in a way that seems to defy gravity. Rain drops may form patterns on different surfaces, make a spiderweb glow, or even drip in a way that mimics a small waterfall. Simply put, rain draws our eyes to the little objects in nature that often go overlooked.

Next time you are greeted with a rainy day, keep hold of these facts and wonders, and try wandering through the rain, you might just learn to love it.

If you have a love for nature, join us for the Campfire Stories Book Club every third Thursday of the month at Newport Library! June’s book is Wild, opens a new window by Cheryl Strayed. Follow Cheryl’s journey as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, on which, she is frequently greeted by rain!