They howl the health of the world.

G.K. Chesterton wrote a whole article on the topic of rain. He addresses it partly to the strict teetotalers of his era, around 1910. It rejoices my heart that I have rainy weather in which to enjoy this piece, from which I have gleaned generous excerpts for the benefit of my (possibly also romantic) readers. More installments to come soon.

As for the fascination of rain for the water drinker, it is a fact the neglect of which I simply cannot comprehend. The enthusiastic water drinker must regard a rainstorm as a sort of universal banquet and debauch of his own favourite beverage. 

Think of the imaginative intoxication of the wine drinker if the crimson clouds sent down claret or the golden clouds hock. Paint upon primitive darkness some such scenes of apocalypse, towering and gorgeous skyscapes in which champagne falls like fire from heaven or the dark skies grow purple and tawny with the terrible colours of port. All this must the wild abstainer feel, as he rolls in the long soaking grass, kicks his ecstatic heels to heaven, and listens to the roaring rain. It is he, the water drinker, who ought to be the true bacchanal of the forests; for all the forests are drinking water. Moreover, the forests are apparently enjoying it: the trees rave and reel to and fro like drunken giants; they clash boughs as revellers clash cups; they roar undying thirst and howl the health of the world. gl rain 12 P1030293(1)

All around me as I write is a noise of Nature drinking: and Nature makes a noise when she is drinking, being by no means refined. If I count it Christian mercy to give a cup of cold water to a sufferer, shall I complain of these multitudinous cups of cold water handed round to all living things; a cup of water for every shrub; a cup of water for every weed? I would be ashamed to grumble at it. As Sir Philip Sidney said, their need is greater than mine—especially for water.

–From “The Romantic in the Rain”

gl rain IMG_1628 movie pause

I took the pictures from the window of our car one summer afternoon a few years ago, as my husband and I drove through pouring rain in the High Sierra. I took a video also as we rode along with our friends, somewhat hushed by the splashing of so much water and the blub-blub of the windshield wipers. I wish I had the ability to post the video with those sounds, and the sound of his voice, but the picture here at the bottom is a kind of screen shot from it.

3 thoughts on “They howl the health of the world.

  1. I think because we have been so long without rain, we are much more thrilled with it now. I end up not getting a thing done because I stand and stare and am mesmerized by it.

    I find myself humming “Great Are You Lord.” 🙂 It makes me happy to read dear Mr. Chesterton write so lovingly about it. Have a lovely day.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.