Even though Ray Bradbury’s description of Venus as a planet covered with dense jungle where the rain is constant was wildly inaccurate—it does rain on Venus, and sometimes even snow, but it’s sulfuric acid, not water—the rain we’ve had here made me think about some of his stories lately. Yesterday morning I woke up to rain and I thought, “Wow, what a surprise. More rain.” The rain gauge in the backyard is overflowing. Sometimes I think of his story All Summer In A Day, published in his collection A Medicine For Melancholy, about a young girl who’s moved from Earth to Venus. Her classmates despise her and are suspicious of her because she’s seen the sun and they never have. On Venus, in this story, the sun only comes out for two hours every seven years.
Yesterday, though, with a heavier rain coming down, I thought of his story The Long Rain, from The Illustrated Man. A group of soldiers slogs through the constant rain of Venus. It was a story I thought about several times as a Boy Scout, whenever we had to hike in the rain, except for me there was no Sun Dome, which the soldiers had to look forward to.
They crossed the river, and in crossing they thought of the Sun Dome, ahead of them, shining in the jungle rain. A yellow house, round and bright as the sun…in which was warmth and quiet and hot food and freedom from rain.
At least I do know that sooner or later this rain will stop. Maybe even some morning soon I’ll wake up to a clear sky and be able to look east and see Venus.