In A Fine Smirr of Rain, Bill Bridges explores life and the natural world through the lens of rain. He describes the world’s oldest rock and its evidence of water 4.4 billion years ago. From the sound, shape, and smell of rain, he moves to “Death by Umbrella”—the rain-related assassinations of a Napoleonic finance minister and (possibly) JFK. After essays on rain forests, rain gardening, global warming, and ice-coring in Antarctica, the book ends with a meditation on the beauty and transience of the world.


Rain fell early in the afternoon, but by the time I left the house it had largely run off, dried, or collected in puddles or on the small branches of trees and bushes. There seemed an optimum size: the smallest trees, some hardly more than shoulder height with a fretwork of tiny branches, were the most jeweled. Some drops still clung to the larger linden tree in the front yard, at the points where downward looping twigs turned up again, or around leaf buds. Looking closely through the larger drops, I could see the house and trees across the street, inverted. Down the street, a child leaned over a porch rail, her palm up. It was the first day of spring.


“Bridges combines his poet’s sense of beauty with a journalist’s eye for detail.”
Daily Journal, Franklin, Indiana

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