I can feel the mist from the rain as it strikes the wooden railing of the deck. Sitting back on the bench I pull my ratty oversized cardigan closer around myself and close my eyes briefly breathing deeply through my nose. I stretch my legs out straight in front of me propping my feet on the lowest wooden slat of the deck and wiggling my toes in my old men’s slippers.
As adults we mostly see rain as a hindrance in our lives. As children my brothers and I would put on our swimsuits and go outside to play on days like this. I can remember feeling the warm wetness as I would lift my face to the sky. We would run across the yard feeling the slickness of the grass and hearing the squeak under our bare feet. Invariably my brothers would find a mud puddle and the fight would be on. I being a young lady and considerably more mature than them at the ripe old age of eight would remove myself to sit on the curb and watch the torrents of water pour across my toes until they wrinkled. My mother would keep vigilant watch and call us in immediately upon hearing the sounds of thunder or lightening. We were only allowed to play in the rain if there were none of either.
It wasn’t until years later that I learned how difficult it was for my mother to allow this at all. She hid it well but was terrified of storms. After finding out I remembered her sharp urgent tone as she yelped at me to get off the phone when there was lightening outside. I remember heading down to the basement the moment the sirens went off where the refrigerator was stocked, the board games were stacked up and the blankets and pillows were pulled out and laying on the foam mattress that my Dad had made for us to sleep on in the station wagon on long trips.
I pulled my legs up on the bench beside me reaching for the cup of tea I had sitting on the small table in front of me. My hands were engulfed in the too long sleeves of my sweater and the wet wool smell assailed my senses as I raised the oversized chipped cup to my lips. I inhaled deeply the combination of woods, rain and spicy tea assailing my senses. I finished my tea and stood up to begin my day feeling rejuvenated. There is a spirituality to feeling one with the elements, walking in the rain, watching a thunderstorm from my kitchen, waking up to the brightness and muffled traffic noises of the first heavy snow of the season, feeling the crunch of leaves under my feet as I walk through the woods. As I walked through my sliding glass doors I turned to take one more look and watched as the neighbors golden retriever came bounding down the street for his daily walk in the woods, tongue lolling, golden fur bouncing along and running through mud puddles with no regard. He reminded me of my brothers and I chuckled remembering a simpler time.