Ombrophiliac: Rain Lover

29 Jan

Rain.  I am obsessed with it.  I live for it.  At night, I strain to hear it in my sleep.  I love walking in it, don’t have sense enough to come in out of it, thrill to hear it forecast on the weather channel.  My favorite foreign locations all have rainy reputations:  Ireland, England, Germany. 

Maybe moving to Oklahoma has intensified my obsession—craving what we don’t have.  I moved to OK from what is billed as the rainiest city in America:  Hilo, Hawaii.  Unlike the most popular of the islands, the Hilo side of the Big Island, is the “rainy” side.  It generally rains at least once a day.  Sometimes these are only what we called “drive-by” downpours:  literally a few seconds of hard rain; other times it rains all night but is sunny during the day—the perfect formula for most Hawaiians.  When I first moved to Hilo in January 2008,  it was raining when I landed and did not stop for a full month.  This is no exaggeration.  It did not even take a hiccup of relief.  That was a bit much even for me, but the only thing that slightly got on my nerves was the incessant beating on the tin roof.  Don’t get me wrong:  I love nothing better than the pattering of rain on a tin roof, but this was more like construction, a constant hammering.  I don’t recall its raining that relentlessly ever again over the four years I lived there, and I admit I missed it.  I kept hoping it had not been a fluke and would occur again, even every other year or so.  It didn’t, but it did rain at least a little every day.  I loved that. 

What do we call someone who loves rain as much as I do?  I went to the Phrontistery website for the proper term, but did not find it listed.  I found the names for other things I’m overly fond of: dendrophilous (trees) ailurophilia (cats), even logophile (words)—but not rain.  The closest thing I found was ombrophilous (one who is tolerant of large amounts of rainfall), and since ombrophobia is the fear of rain, I would deduce a rain lover is an ombrophiliac.  Call me what you will.  Rain lover.  That’s me.

I’ll close with this poem I wrote once in England:


England in November 

          “…the rain has such small hands”

                              –e. e. cummings


when rain is constant

company, all things

shift to its capricious

whim, seduced by soft

persistence to sink

down in its ubiquitous

embrace, a moat deep

against all else


long rain’s lover, I

have known such quiet

intimacy, warmed my

fingers at its fluid

fire, melted memory

cold into grey



and rose, released from

remembering, discounting

all other offers


          clumsy and



face, mirrored in its own,

shining wet with

rain, sweet, and

savory tears.



16 Responses to “Ombrophiliac: Rain Lover”

  1. hwaugh13 January 30, 2013 at 1:30 am #

    Ahh! I love.
    I love the rain as well, just not when I’ve fixed my hair. 🙂
    How interesting that all of your favorite places (or some, at least) have rainy reputations. I wonder if they are the reasons why you love rain, or if you love rain because of those places. I’ve read this poem before, but I love it and feel that I could read it a hundred more times. The second stanza is my favorite… “melted memory cold into grey forgetfulness.” Ah! Thank you for sharing!

    • brileyrebecca January 30, 2013 at 4:29 am #

      Thank you! I think the love of rain came first, and then the love of the places that harbor rain…at least that coincides with my earliest memories, which are of rain on the tin roof of my grandmother’s house.

  2. Wanda Luttrell January 30, 2013 at 2:52 am #

    Nice! I, too, love rain–probably where you get it, daughter of mine! A rainy day, a good book–as close to heaven as it gets on earth.

  3. A October 22, 2013 at 2:46 am #


  4. m October 26, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    Isn’t the term Pluviophile?

  5. Jack Stull January 12, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    I enjoyed this post, and your writing. You inspired me to include pluviophile in one of my poems. Here it is:

    *Every Nook and Every Cranny of the Earth*

    The rain comes
    and we wait
    for the lines of poetry
    to spill out into patterns.

    We wait for our words to echo what the rain says
    and how it splashes in an ordered chaos.

    Perhaps it’s something inherent in rain
    that brings us to poetry.

    With all of the pluviophiles stirring
    when the large drops begin to fall
    like kamikazes from the sky
    and all of the poets slink by like salamanders
    through the wide-open fields
    that are greener and more abandoned when it rains.

    We walk alone under the weight of sagging gray clouds,
    clouds that grew too heavy for themselves
    until they split open and poured their insides out
    continuously onto the earth.

    Poets are rain creatures who are full
    when the mountains are obscured
    by dense, coiling mists and shades of storm.

    We are full when everything is inundated.
    And we need to be emptied like the rain clouds.

    We cannot help ourselves, to be
    like the rain.

    The storms drift like giant tumultuous beasts,
    groping blindly at the mountains, at odds
    with themselves as if processing
    the most obscure, unimaginable thoughts
    and crying about it endlessly.

    Something in us awakens when
    there’s the possibility of flood.

    When the waters rise
    and the land and every object
    is a single receptive body.

    It’s as if there is a great metaphor
    that we can’t quite see or understand
    but want to write about
    when the skies bruise and burst into showers.

    And there is movement in the dark ravines somewhere.
    And there’s water flowing through the labyrinth
    of underground tunnels somewhere, and every nook
    and every cranny of the earth
    is touched.

    • Claudia Willmore April 30, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

      To Jack Stull- What a wonderful poem! You have talent! Thank you for taking the time to post it.


  6. makeupmaureen May 2, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    Reblogged this on makeupmaureen and commented:
    ombrophiliac kindred soul

  7. sam baik June 20, 2015 at 4:15 am #

    (n) a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days

    (n) the smell of earth after rain

  8. Jennifer Gonzaga June 30, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

    It is actually called ….. pluviophile!

  9. creekwaterwoman November 5, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

    I did not know there was another in Oklahoma that loved rain like me! I live for the damp, cool drizzly days. Like winter in Seattle. I live for it and the Oklahoma summers nearly kill me—every year.

    • brileyrebecca November 5, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

      That’s why I had to move back to Kentucky! OK nearly killed me too!

  10. Rose Beach July 23, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    I love the rain sooooo much! It conjures up childhood memories of a warm loving environment with parents who were nurturing. My mom would make comfort meals like savoury stews and marble cake with buttercream icing. We would gather in the kitchen and enjoy each other’s company while the rain splattered against the window. To this day I look forward to rainy stormy weather. When my attic is restored I look forward to hearing the heavy England rain on the roof. It will again transport me back to a lovely time when troubles were few and every rainy day was a joy.

  11. Kristine March 22, 2018 at 3:01 pm #

    Hi:) Im a lover of rain too ❤ ❤
    I was born on a rainy day and every year since it has rained on my birthday (okay, it has been sunny 6 of the times but 32 out of 38 years is still special!)
    Anyway, I stumbled across your blog and wanted to share a couple words that I’ve come to know over the years:

    A lover of rain is a pluviophile.
    The smell just after a rainfall is petrichor.

    And thank you for the new word! From one ombropiliac to another!

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