Dr Julie Carter




It’s raining—again. I’m sitting here writing with the window open enjoying the soft sound of raindrops landing on leaves. The rain is a comfort. But as a rock climber it’s frustrating. To have a summer when there have been few chances to relish the adventure of long routes; the feeling of fingers handling warm dry rock; the dance of nimble footwork on small frictioned holds. Although thwarted by the rain when it comes to climbing—I also love it. And I’m beginning to understand what it is about rainy days that give me a sense of peace and how they can make me feel happier.

 rain 3

The other day a friend told me that they had gone out for lunch but had felt overwhelmed by the music in the café. Feeling a little self-conscious they asked for a quiet table, and were obligingly seated in a pleasant and peaceful out-of-the-way corner where they were able to relax and enjoy the meal. My friend and I mulled over how having a neurodiverse label had helped them to feel a bit more assertive to ask. We agreed that its a sad thing if we need labels to empower us to feel that our genuine needs are legitimate. Instead of the world being too noisy and busy to be humanly healthy, we internalize the issue and think it’s our personal deficiency. The problem becomes us and not the overstimulating and overhyped world we inhabit. The label of a disorder or of being neurodiverse can make us feel easier about saying that we need a calm environment. For me—the gentle sound of rain is calming. And I’m realising, more and more, how dangerous it is for humans, all humans not just those with ‘special needs’ , to live without a sense of calm.

rain 4

When it rains many things happen. I feel less guilty about not being out climbing or running and not ‘making the most of things’. I find it really hard to rest during dry weather when I want to be up and out and not ‘lazing about’. Rain is permission to rest. Rain is also refreshment. The air is cool, the plants are green and the earth is damp and riddled with life. The lake is fresh and replenished and morning swims are cool and deep. When I go for a run in the rain my senses feel awake—the feel of the water on my skin, in my hair, in my shoes and socks. So despite being a frustrated climber I am grateful for the beauty of rain. Although there have been times in recent years, especially after devastating floods, when our community has felt nervous when the rain begins to overdo it. The unbalancing of our world comes back to us though. And presently, while other parts of the world are on fire, I’m not minded to get on an aeroplane in a quest for dry rock to climb. I feel guilty enough at the damage I’ve already done, so I’ll just stay here and listen to the rain. Which is lovely.

The next time it rains—do make sure you enjoy it.


Just the sound of rain

Rain falling on breathing leaves

Water returning


                                                    Just the smell of rain

                                                    Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain

                                                    Washing dust away

                                                                                                          Just the touch of rain

                                                                                                          Raining raining raining rain

                                                                                                          Cleansing unhealed wounds

rain 1a