- The rain is falling all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.
--Robert Louis Stevenson
I have a special fondness for this poem, though the source of the fondness is of a more recent date than most of the poems I have a special fondness for. Last year I was tutoring a little girl named Fatima. She needed help in reading, mostly because English was her second language, and she simply didn't have the vocabulary to recognize when she had sounded out a word correctly. During our tutoring sessions, I brought storybooks to read along with the worksheets and vocabulary building exercises that I was required to use. One day, we read a book of nursery rhymes, and she LOVED it. She recognized a few of them, but mostly she liked the predictability of the rhythm and rhyme in poetry.
As a tutor, I'm quick to grab hold of anything that motivates a child, so I brought her more poetry: Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Robert Louis Stevenson and even some Haiku. She liked reading poems herself, but she also loved hearing me read them since I could do it with more fluency, and she could get the full effect. She was especially impressed when I showed her that I had some of the poems memorized and could recite them without looking at the words. She decided that she really wanted to do that too, and picked this poem as her first (she already knew some nursery rhymes, as I've said, but this was the first she set out to memorize as a poem).
We copied it down onto a little piece of paper that she kept in her desk and she practiced it for weeks, finally getting it just right. We copied down a few others that she especially liked, but I soon realized that it would take too long to do much more of that during tutoring. That's when I set out to compile a book of poems for her--including the best of the ones she'd already read, and some more of my favorites for her to grow into. While compiling poems and illustrations for her little book, I found many others that I loved, but which didn't fit the scope I had decided on. It was at that point that I decided to start this blog.
Anyway, it rained all day today -- We haven't had this much rain at once in months and months -- maybe not since last winter. It was nice to wake up last night to the sound of rain, and it was nice to have the rain wash away a lot of the ashy dust from the wildfires and general smog. My biggest complaint about living in California is that I miss the rain (though my biggest reason for liking it is the constant sunshine). If we could get a good thunderstorm rolling through about once a month, I think that would be the perfect compromise.