Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Rain in September

Between Hurricane Irene last week and another day-long storm blowing through today, we’ve been getting hit with a lot of rain lately, and it made me think about rain in the context of tea. There’s the obvious angle, of course – it’s nice to have a bowl of hot tea on a wet day. But there are also a lot of seasonal variations on rain. For example, there are gentle showers in the spring, and afternoon thunderstorms in the summer, and in this area there are the tropical storms that blow up the coast starting in August.

Looking through my tea books, I found a great word – nowake. It literally means “field dividing,” meaning a wind that blows through a field and divides the crops. Here, for your wet weather enjoyment, are a couple of poems:

Inoshishi mo

Tomo ni fukaruru

Nowaki kana

Even the wild boars

Are blown away by the autumn storm

Diligence is needed

-- Basho

Oharame ya

Nowaki ni mukau


Female peddlers from Ohara [Kyoto]

Have hitched up their kimonos

To do battle against nowake

-- Sonojo

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