Da Hawaiian language get ukupila words for rain: kili, kilihune, (fine, light rain), ko‘iawe, light, moving rain; lelehuna, fine, windblown rain. Ua, da rain, was beloved by early Hawaiians because it preserved da land, and was called kāhiko o ke akua, adornment of deity. Lots of rains had specific names and were associated poetically wit particular places [Hawaiian Dictionary, Pukui and Elbert]. My middo name, Anuheaikauatuahine, refers to da cool, refreshing rain Tuahine in Mānoa Valley on O‘ahu, weah I was born and raised.
Here in Northwest Oregon, from da middo of December, 2005, to da middo of January, 2006, we wen get almost 14 inches of rain. I realize dat Mānoa Valley can get around 100 inches of rain a year, and Mt Wai‘ale‘ale can average 400 inches a year. But here in Oregon, da rain doesn’t come in showers dat soon quickly fade to sun. During da last month or so, I think I seen da sun twice. Da days are gray, and plenny times I wake up in da middle of a cloud, da misty white swirling around me like a diaphanous (ho, da big word, yeah?) shawl. Sometimes I cannot even see da bottom of my pasture, den, suddenly, it looks like I get obake sheep and llamas appearing out of da mist.
I love da way dat da Douglas firs look wit the fog and clouds hovering ovah da tops of dem. It’s one of my favorite sights here on da mainland.
Some peeps can’t stand da constant gray. Dey long for da sun, and grumble about da lack of blue sky. But I no mind it. Da rain makes me want to sit by da woodstove and knit, or read. It makes me think of warm cups of cocoa topped by homemade marshmallows, talking stories with a good friend.
Here in da Portland area, summer really never shows up till after da 4th of July. Even doe we can have hot, hot days in May or June, dey can still be followed by days of rain. And when summer finally arrives, I am glad for it (except for da days over 90 degrees!). I know it will stick around, with maybe a week total of rain until late September. Den da rain will come back again for anoddah six months. Northwest Oregon is known for plenny rain, but actually, we get less den Chicago, and much less den some places in Hawai‘i; it just take more longer to fall!
Sometimes during da winter we get bone-chilling cold days wit blue skies, wen da east wind whooshes down da Columbia River Gorge and cuts through me like a knife. Den we can get ice or snow. But soon da rain will come back, changing da skies to their usual gray.
I like da rain. I like how it makes me feel. It doesn’t depress me. If I could name da Oregon rain, it would be Uamanawalō‘ihihinahina, da long-time, gray rain.