April 17, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Now comes the rain with a rush. In haste I put my boat about, raise my sail, and, cowering under my umbrella in the stern, with the steering oar in my hand, begin to move homeward. The rain soon fulls up my sail, and it catches all the little wind. From under the umbrella I look out on the scene. The big drops pepper the watery plain, the aequor, on every side. It is not a hard, dry pattering, as on a roof, but a softer, liquid pattering, which makes the impression of a double wateriness. You do not observe the drops descending but where they strike, for there they batter and indent the surface deeply like buckshot, and they, or else other drops which they create, rebound or hop up an inch or two, and these last you see, and also when they fall back broken into small shot and roll on the surface. Around each shot-mark are countless circling dimples, running into and breaking one another, and very often a bubble is formed by the force of the shot, which floats entire for half a minute. These big shot are battering the surface every three inches or thicker. I make haste to take down my sail at the bridges, but at the stone arches forgot my umbrella, which was unavoidably crushed in part. Even in the midst of this rain I am struck by the variegated surface of the water, different portions reflecting the light differently, giving what is called a watered appearance. Broad streams of light water stretch away between streams of dark, as if they were different kinds of water unwilling to mingle, though all are equally dimpled by the rain, and you detect no difference in their condition. As if Nature loved variety for its own sake. It is a true April shower, or rain, –– I think the first. It rains so easy, — has a genius for it for it and infinite capacity for [it]. Many showers will not exhaust the moisture of April.