It's Raining Shakespeare
Seeing Beyond What You See ...
Posted by Steffi Lewis on 28/06/2013
Do you like rain or do you hate it? Do you see it as a vital natural replenishment of the water table allowing our green and pleasant land to stay, erm, green and pleasant or do you just see it as something that brings down your mood and forces you to take an umbrella when you leave the house?
did all the water on the earth come from comets?
I'm sitting outside my favourite coffee shop in Central Milton Keynes. I am grateful for the big overhang of the building that lets me sit here in the dry, watching the world beyond being drenched in warm Summer rain. It's the end of June and there are also patches of blue sky as a billion different water droplets pelt the slabs in front of me.
Fix your gaze on a specific part of the ground where a little puddle has collected and you'll see complex interference patterns emerging as droplets randomly impact with the surface of it and the waves spread out intersecting with one another. You never get two droplets in the exact same place. The distribution of dust in our atmosphere that the water vapour condenses around is too random to allow accuracy like that.
The sun emerges from behind a cloud for a moment and gives the rain a colourful sheen. Given the right position of the observer to the angle that the sunlight hits the raindrops and you'll see one of the most beautiful of nature's many illusions - a rainbow. Maybe for a second, maybe for a minute - in every downpour you can see a thing of real beauty.
For the scientifically minded amongst us, we can think of the global water cycle. From rain to ground water to rivers to the sea and into clouds again via evaporation. Everything is cyclical in this wonderful Universe isn't it?
For the nature lovers, it's all about seasons, growth and renewal of our environment, allowing the wonders of everything from a blade of grass to a flowering Cherry to burst forth and enrich our lives with its beauty.
For the more spiritual, water is flexible and moves with feminine energy. Influenced by the moon it is cleansing and refreshing and reminds us that everything changes and never stays the same.
For most people though, rain is an inconvenience. We're forced to wear a coat and carry an umbrella to ensure we don't look like a drowned rat when we arrive at our destination. It causes our motorways to slow down and makes us late for appointments and we feel glum because - let's face it - we don't like bad weather and "darn it ... it's raining again". And then you're in a bad mood aren't you?
Have you ever wondered where the molecules in a single water droplet came from? Originally, they may have been in a cometary tail hurtling across space for a billion years before intersecting with the orbit of our Earth and drifting aimlessly down into the upper atmosphere. Or if you believe the creationist view of the world, a bearded deity on a big cloud snapped his fingers and the oceans appeared one afternoon around 8,000 years ago.
The last time a particular molecule of H2O was on the surface of the Earth it could have been in a glass of water drunk by Plato and then passed into the water table the next time he went to the loo. It could have been happily sitting inside a skin cell belonging to Shakespeare and leached out once he'd died and then found its way to the ocean over the following hundred or so years. It could have been locked up in the trunk of an ancient Oak tree, carried in the fur of a wet cat for a while or simply breathed out by a small toad that recently jumped out of a pond just around the corner. And now, along with a billion other identical molecules, it just condensed around a dust particle and the force of gravity made it fall from a cloud above Central Milton Keynes shopping centre and land in a puddle in front of me.
The movement of atoms and molecules around the planet is just so random and beautifully chaotic it hurts to think about it too much. But it is, most definitely, worth thinking about.
The next time it rains, why not focus your concentration on a small puddle and watch the wonder unfold in front of you? The random interference patterns, the sound of each drop hitting the surface of the water. Stop thinking about everything you have to do, stop worrying about everything that's going on in your world and just be an observer. If you lose yourself in that moment and find your focus then you may just see what I am seeing and feel how I am feeling right now. It really is beautiful.
And now the Sun has come out from behind the clouds and it's stopped raining - well it is June - what did you expect? Instead of watching droplets landing randomly on the floor in front of me, I'm now observing the sun heating the puddles up and I can see them turning into steam and evaporating back into the atmosphere again. And so the cycle continues as it has for a few billion years in our quiet corner of the galaxy.
If you think a little differently and open yourself to "seeing beyond what you can see" by becoming an observer, it really is quite beautiful to behold. The rain is a dance and an orchestra all rolled into one - sound and movement, chemistry and physics, science and spirituality - all in perfect harmony.
Rain - you can choose to be in awe or you can choose to feel grumpy and let it ruin your day. It's totally up to you, isn't it?