Over the Cacophony

rain storm metal roofFrom downstairs arose such a clatter I knew the roofers had arrived. We cohabitate with five dogs and a cat under normal circumstances; when we are fostering others, the numbers swell. Currently there are eight total beasts capable of raising the fore-mentioned clatter. Reminiscent of the Bumpus Hounds from A Christmas Story.

The roofers were there to install our much anticipated metal roof, something my Running Mate has longed for since before I arrived. I had nothing to do with the decision, planning, or financing. I just move cars around and listen to tales of woe until the job is complete.

We lost satellite TV coverage the second night; the same night heavy showers came. A cavalier comment about needing rain and hoping a tarp covering would bring the necessary precipitation proved true and messy.

The dogs were more curious than traumatized but the cat was traumatized to a level beyond description. She is used to leisurely dozing the mild southern afternoons away in the back yard. The noisy activity drove her to frantically seek a place of comfort and quiet. We finally confined her to the inside, something she abhorred more than the raucous activity outside.

The installation required a week to complete. Two days later December rains came once again. Rain I was looking forward to almost as much as Christmas ham. And I really look forward to Christmas ham.

Anyone who has ever slept during a stormy night inside a warm, safe house while the earth is pelted with large raindrops knows what I mean. There is nothing so restful, so peaceful, as the noise significant rain makes as it falls to earth and is caught by the roof.


I grew up in a time and place where roofs were covered in tin. My father’s birthplace, also his father’s, had a cistern in place beside the family well. Gutters diverted rain from the roof to the cistern where the water was charcoal filtered before seeping into the well; just to support the existing water table.

I realized later in life, after the tin roofs had disappeared from over my head, how much I enjoyed them. During my telephone installing days, I occasionally found myself in poorer sections of town, or out of town completely. The noise of a sudden shower would catch me by surprise. The level of comfort and security was unmatched. I also found the experience to be slightly erotic, which was disconcerting and a little embarrassing. I can’t recall a memory that would conjure such a reaction, but it is there.

December rains have visited us several times since the installation was completed. The best description I can offer is amplification. The falling rain is enhanced, which multiplies whatever emotion is currently residing in our inner places. Sadness, joy, contemplative restlessness, and even sensuality; enhanced by the dull roar. I can’t explain why. I do know this is real.

I worry the sound will become commonplace and lose significance; become lost in the daily cacophony that is life itself. Hopefully the infrequency of considerable rainfall; what the old timers called a gully-washer, will keep the sudden burst of noise fresh and significant, and enjoyable.

The sound isn’t quite as dramatic as the tin roofs of my childhood but much better than before. Such is the case most always. The much anticipated follow-up seldom lives up to the memory of the first time.

Sex and tuna nachos from Schooner Wharf Bar are notable exceptions.


Image: Licensed by LikeTheDew.com at iStock Photo
Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.

One Comment
  1. Frank Povah

    We, too have a metal roof – but the sound is not as dramatic as what one experiences in Australia. The profile is different from the”corrugated iron” or as they call it these days, “Zincalume”, mainy because it is lid over an existing layer of shingles and secondly roofs are constructed slightly differently in the USA. Still, at least I can drink the water that ruins off it and enjoy the muted sound the rainfall makes.

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