Thomas Corrao describes a recent rainy day walk through Petrifying Springs Park.

Capturing Kenosha: A rainy day walk through Petrifying Springs Park

Making the most out of inclement weather

By Thomas CorraoKENOSHA.COM

After retiring in 2021 with 38 years in public service, Corrao brings a passion for photography with his popular local sunrise and nature photos (available for personal use only). Corrao can be found on Instagram (@straycompasslifeguy) and YouTube (Stray Compass Life Channel).

Hello, everyone. Welcome to another edition of “Capturing Kenosha.”

Recently, we saw a bit of rain. While I was out running errands, I happened to overhear some people talking about the weather. What I heard made me think of how we have the ability to spoil the atmosphere with our words.

These words not only affect our own lives, but also the lives of others. In the grocery store, post office, pharmacy, or just about anywhere, you hear people refer to a rainy day as “gloomy,” “dreary,” or even worse, a “horrible day.” 

The trails of Petrifying Springs Park.

It almost seems like our society has permanently linked these negative feelings to the true blessing of a rainy day. I struggle with my thoughts on these occasions and hate it when I hear the introduction of these negative connotations. Sometimes I want to speak up about it, but don’t because everyone has the right to feel what they feel. I just don’t understand our acceptance of these negative feelings as true identifiers of a rainy day. That is why I decided to make the subject the topic of this week’s “Capturing Kenosha.”

One thing I love doing on occasion is walking in the gentle rain. It can be quite a pleasant experience for the senses and a natural way of achieving a feeling of happiness within one’s soul. I enjoy walking in the rain along the trails of Petrifying Springs Park. I use it as a means of decompression and find that it provides me with a sort of intimacy with the natural world all around me.

I find the late spring and early summer rains to be the best time to visit the trail because there are not many mosquitos and the leaves are on the trees, which act as an immense natural umbrella. The trails are relatively free of the sounds of urban sprawl and your ears will be treated to the sound of the gentle rain in the canopy.

The park is also known as “Bird City” because of the tremendous species of birds that frequent the area. You’ll hear the sounds of songbirds and woodpeckers along the trail. Chipmunks and squirrels will also be rustling about the forest floor while wildflowers of all kinds will be standing tall while soaking up the life-giving rains.

Rainy days tend to be cool days, but one must understand that there is something raw and powerful about being outside in all kinds of weather, exposed and intimate with it, rather than fighting or cursing it. 

So, now that I have expressed through words how walking in the rain makes me feel, I will now show you the beauty of a rainy day walk in the great outdoors of Kenosha County with my photography. All of the pictures here were taken on the same walk on the morning of Sunday, June 5. Between the pictures, I’ll place some positive attributes to taking walks in the rain.

Rainy days equal solitude. Because so many people associate rainy days with such negativity, the trails aren’t usually crowded. All of those places that you love to visit so much but hate sharing with big crowds can now suddenly be mostly all yours! You can revel in your solitude, allowing yourself to “be in the moment” without the distractions of other people breaking the silence.

Rainy days often give the forest a mystical quality. A cloak of fog sometimes spreads out along the ground, creating a fuzzy white backdrop for all of the dark tree trunks. At this time, the forest can be beautiful and can feel magical, like a fairyland you just happened upon. 

Rainy days steal your footsteps so you can walk silently, erasing the sounds of crunching leaves or broken sticks. 

The silence means animals might not hear you coming as easily and you may approach closer than normal before they notice you. The possibility of seeing a wild animal creates an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation.

Some animals, like frogs, salamanders, and turtles that you might not usually see actually COME OUT on rainy days! 

Rainy days offer the possibility of seeing a rainbow. Who doesn’t love a rainbow with its brilliant colors, ephemeral quality, and the feeling of wonder that they evoke?

Raindrops offer unique music to those who listen. Raindrops often cling to every leaf, branch, petal, and strand of silk, so that in all directions, you see spots of beauty. On some leaves, the tiny beads of water collect and form patterns while on others the drops are repelled, running off and splashing below, a kind of music that has the potential to soothe your soul.

Rain makes the flowers grow and who doesn’t love flowers? This might be the best reason of them all!

I doubt I can ever change the way our society thinks about rainy days, but maybe I can convince one person that they are at least worth a second look. If you agree, maybe you can convince one person, too. And they can convince one person until many more people appreciate the beauty of a rainy day.

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces you up, and snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” — John Ruskin