We’ve had a little bit of rain in Southern California this weekend, and in a state where there is precious little dew on the ground in the morning, let alone out-and-out rain, this is news in and of itself. Being a person whose moods are susceptible to changes in the weather, I have been walking around with a spring in my step all weekend. I suppose you could say that the presence of clouds in the sky have lifted the clouds in my soul.
(I know what you’re thinking–“poor little weather-rich girl with all her pretty sunshine”–but a monotony of sunshine can be just as oppressive as a monotony of rain.)
The rain also inspired me to find a short story to which I was first introduced in elementary school, and which has remained linked in my mind to the rain ever since. The story is Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day.” It is a very short read, and certainly not one of Bradbury’s best works, but it is piercingly painful. I have always cried for Margot, the wan little girl who waits five years for a two hour glimpse of the sun, only to be locked away from it by her ignorant classmates.
I’ve spent the morning wondering why it is that this tiny, insignificant story has stuck with me for decades. I think part of it is the story’s distilled quality; the shortness of length makes the strength of emotion all the more potent. The other part of it is that I think all of us can relate to Margot’s longing, her willingness to wait five years and look with hopeful eyes into a never ending rain, hoping for a glimpse of the sun, afraid to give in to the joy of believing it will actually appear, but unable to live without that very hope.
I don’t know if that hope is good or bad. Is it right to be satisfied with feeling the warmth of the sun only every seven years? Is it apathy or endurance that keeps the residents of Venus from fleeing the oppressive rains?