Stories, musings, inspirations, and adventures from a mother, storyteller, artist, and forever child.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Walking in the Rain

I fell in love with the rain when I was fifteen years old. It was during the summer, in one of those days in May when the rain drops in like a long lost visitor to remind you that it still exists, and to let you know that you will see more of it in the weeks to come.

It was also during a time when just a little bit of rain would immediately cause a power outtage in our village. It was thus too dark for me to read or doodle, and as a young, energetic, restless teenager, I had yet to discover the joys of sleeping in the whole day (a rare luxury that I, in my "old age," frequently yearn for but hardly ever get.)

In other words, I was very, very bored.

I had gazed morosely out the window and to my astonishment, saw my two friends Christian and Francis walking up to my front door. Both were soaking wet and smiling. I flew out the door even before they could knock, thanking them for saving me from the endless ocean of my boredom. They invited me to go out for a walk in the rain. 

Hmmm. There was no way parents mom would let me go. I swiftly decided to go anyway, thinking with the brave albeit unrealistic optimism of youth that I might be back before they even noticed I was gone. I stealthily closed the door, went through our front gate, and urged my friends to walk quickly. The faster we were out of sight, the better. Just as I was about to rejoice in my imminent escape, a tiny voice called out from his window, "Ate! Ate!" Oh no. My younger brother Regis, who was eight at the time, had seen me. "Just ignore him," I muttered, and walked faster. "Ate! Ate! Where are you going?" He cried insistently. I continued to ignore him. "Ate! Ate! Ate come back!" He shrieked in panic. On we went, and as my house disappeared from view, his persistent cries grew softer and softer.

We had escaped, but I was uneasy. I already knew that Regis was going to tell my mom, and that I would be in big trouble the minute I returned. But these thoughts were squeezed into a tiny little corner in the back of my head as soon as my friends and I discovered the wondrous joys of walking in the rain.

Oh, what fun we had! We raised our arms, turned our faces towards the sky and closed our eyes, feeling the sweet, soothing raindrops trickle down our faces and our necks. As the rain grew stronger, we spun around and around till we were dizzy and breathless. We laughed as the water soaked our clothes and our shoes, causing us to sound like rubber ducks squeaking each time we took a step. We raced through rain puddles. We sought out flooded streets and jumped in the running rivers. We splashed water at one another, and laughed crazily. We sang, we danced, we skipped, we shouted in glee. We were like little kids again. I felt so vibrant, alive, and free.

We were gone for more than an hour and I had to deal with the full force of my parents' fury when my friends brought me home. (I think I was grounded for about a week.) But I never forgot that afternoon, when I got a glimpse of a rain filled, storm cloud version of paradise. That afternoon I had decided that there must be a place in heaven where it always rained, where the souls of our beloved and angels could sing God's praises while laughing and dancing in the fragrant, refreshing, blessed rain.

When I was older and allowed more freedom, I often went for walks in the rain whenever I needed to think, whenever something was bothering me, or whenever I felt like it. I remember one time when I was angry because I had felt like I was being forced by people all around me to choose a path that I wasn't sure yet that I wanted to take. I threw on a jacket and went out during a storm. My chest heaving, I made quick, furious steps in the rain, my anger propelling me forward. Halfway through my journey, my steps slowed and I breathed deeply. I closed my eyes and allowed the rain to soothe and calm me. It's gentle music and refreshing touch renewed me and allowed me to see my world once more with hope. To me, rain was no fair weather friend - in its cloudy skies and steady downpour, I had found both joy and solace.

The rain was also there to bless romantic, spontaneous dances in the park with Pipo. (Moments deserving entries of their own, so I won't share the full story here.) It made perfect sense that the rain would share in special, intimate moments in my life.

It has been a long time since I walked in the rain. I don't know why that is. Perhaps it is because I have been too preoccupied with "matters of consequence" and being an adult to indulge in little revels in the rain. Perhaps I am afraid of getting sick and of not being able to attend to the many responsibilities that await me. Perhaps I am wary that this just isn't something that adults are supposed to do, that the only time one walks in the rain is when one forgets to bring an umbrella and doesn't have any other choice.

But I don't ever want to lose touch with the girl who rejoiced in the rain. I don't ever want to search for the girl that raised her arms towards a stormy sky and spun around and around, and find that she has long been gone, replaced by a world-weary, logical adult who will tolerate no nonsense. I don't want to stay cooped up at home looking wistfully out my window, yearning for a time when I was youthful, just a little bit crazy, and carefree.

In my world, there is room to be made for silliness and fun. There is time to be made, in the midst of the chaos and bustle of life, to dance and play, time even to reflect and seek rejuvenation and comfort. And yes, there is enough life within me to allow the gleeful, carefree child to emerge and take charge, even just for a little while.

And so here's to July, and here's to my walking - nay - dancing in the rain some time very soon :-)

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