Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rain Reaction

I am not sure if there's really such a word, but I am coining it anyway. I am going to write about the rain reaction.

I am fond of jogging in the forest near my flat in Tokyo. The other day, the sky was cloudy with a hint of imminent rain in the air. I ventured off notwithstanding. I enjoyed my running on that particular day. Feeling and breathing in the moisture in the space as you dash through is a soothing experience.

I was approaching my favorite spot, where the trees grow tall on a gentle slope. A dragonfly came into my view. It drew my attention because the way it flew was a bit unusual. I looked like a common Autumn Darter ("Akiakane"), but the manner of flight was definitely not.

I stopped running and observed the insect carefully. It flew in a zigzag trajectory as if in a jovial dancing, and approached a tree. There, after making some agitated turns, it perched on a leaf. I approached and took a good look at the specimen. It was an Autumn Darter all right.

I noticed that it had actually begun to rain. In a poignant period of transition, the raindrops gradually increased in number, and I myself had to run for cover.

It was the rain reaction. The insect, detecting the raindrop, apparently went into a different mode of flight than usual. This kind of behavior would be observable only in the transition period, as once it definitely started raining these creatures would not make flights but shelter themselves under the leaves.

I jogged on, pondering the rain reaction. Butterflies must also exhibit rain reactions. Their wings are so vulnerable. Ants must make rain reactions on the ground. These abrupt changes of behavior must be written in their genetic codes. Rain is such a common phenomenon.

Then I mused on rain reactions in life. When rain falls in life, what do people do? Do they dance in a heightened mood, or do they shriek for cover? Is it different from the snow reaction? Is there such a thing as a sunbeam reaction?

My jogging was almost over. As I dried my hair and took of the T-shirt, I thought of the dragonfly, biding time under the leaf.