The following is an excerpt from Angela Fritz | May 20, 2016 | Thewashingtonpost.com |
On May 11, Washington set a new record for the most consecutive days with measurable rain: 15. Skies have been overcast on all afternoons this month but three. Every day, the forecast is the same: cloudy with a chance of showers. Will it ever stop? Of course it will, one day. But instead of fighting the mist, it might be better to dive in head first. Let this collection of books and activities get you through the gray. And don’t worry — they can all be enjoyed indoors.
“Rain: A Natural and Cultural History”
by Cynthia Barnett
Barnett drops you onto the face of the Earth 4.6 billion years ago, when it was a “red-faced and hellish infant” that happened to have water trapped in its rocks. Eventually, the water vapor that had poured out of these rocks into the atmosphere condensed and, “at long last, it began to rain.”
Entire civilizations, religions and industries eventually formed around the weather and rain. Barnett details America’s first weatherman (Thomas Jefferson) and how settlers pushed across the central United States, which swings each year between drought and flood. She catalogues types of rain: city rain and monsoon rain, a dire lack of rain and the kind of rain that sizzles when it hits a blazing sidewalk. Barnett even devotes an entire chapter to “the scent of it.”
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