How an Optimist Learns to Love the Rain

Recommended listening:

Fall (Raven’s Descent) | Stardew Valley Soundtrack

This post is best read along to this amazing fall track, which I feel best encapsulates the optimistic longing expressed within.


“The spirits are restless,” I always say when Nikki plays the retro-style popular farming simulator Stardew Valley. It’s fascinating, it almost never rains when I boot up the game on my profile. Much further along in the game myself, what I wouldn’t give for a day of reprieve from watering the rows and rows of crops that comprise Solitude Farm.

But for her it rains almost every single day — pixelated water of varying intensity brushing over the town and countryside. Accompanying the torrents are the occasional haunting sounds delivered with just enough infrequency to snap you out of your trance-like state.

Often, I find myself waking to the echo. What is that sound? My vivid imagination often runs wild with possibilities, unwilling to break the spell by consulting an internet so out of place in the Valley. Is it the wind? Thunder? Lightning striking a distant tree? Restless spirits?

It’s impossible to know, but there is one thing I do know — each time it happens, it conveys a sense of longing hopefulness. A restlessness for something better.

In the real world, on a day like today, I internally feel that same sense of eager anticipation. Walking out the door, I hear the familiar pitter patter of rain hitting the surface of the earth. A glance at my phone, this time very connected to an internet so apropos in the city, reveals that indeed the rain will be coming down in a steady stream all day. I think back to my other life in the Valley, the one with simple responsibilities and the abandonment of societal distrust, and I imagine the ghastly sound reverberating through the atmosphere.

A real-life thunderbolt follows soon after, jarring me out of my complacency and forcing me to realize that this life, with the sound of car horns and text alerts and mouse clicks, is the one that truly matters. The people we impact here need us — we have a responsibility to make the world a better place so that the world may seem a bit more like life in the Valley. And perhaps they even need the hope that there is some greater purpose than mundane workdays sapping a person from experiencing the passage of time.

“Stardew Valley: Nikki’s Farm Edition,” I text Nikki, staring out a Starbucks window as I keep my cool, waiting longer than I would like for my caffeine fix. Accompanied with the message is a short video clip of the rain hitting the window beneath the green glow of neon. Behind me, I hear the restlessness of the people frustrated because they probably should have been at work five minutes ago, and I hear the irritated voice of a worker trying desperately to get the toaster to function properly. In front of me, I see cars rushing by and cutting people off; near misses a fact of life for Missouri drivers as people stand between them and their destinations.

I come to a realization — the haunting sound so noticeable in the rain of the Valley is more hidden in the real world, but it is there. It is coded in the sounds of human restlessness as the downpour provides a curtain of discontentment for people who have lost their passion. However, I believe the rain can give us optimists a sense of hope! We can be the sound of light, reuniting people with their sense of purpose and helping them appreciate everyday life. I will learn to love the rain with the same fervor as I enjoy the wistful partly cloudy days, because people need it. People need a sense of longing hopefulness so perfectly represented in the Valley.

So let’s talk! I know many of you are as optimistic as I am — it seems to be the writers and true thinkers in this world who work so hard to make the world a better place. Don’t be afraid to talk about the things you do to brighten other people’s lives.


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Published by

Matthew // Normal Happenings

Matthew Estes. STL-based Blogger. Graphic Designer. Happily Married. One day I'll actually complete a book I'm happy with. I love pizza, video games, and using way too many ellipses...

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