Friday, October 12, 2007

Slowly in the Rain

It occurred to me last night as I got off the train and stepped into a downpour that I can gauge my stress level by how I react to the rain. It had been an long, exhausting day of teaching both first graders and adults so I was tired. But when the drops from the heavy rain landed on my face I slowed my fast paced stride and took it in. It felt great.

I have always loved the rain.

Flashback to me as a child sitting with my coloring book and listening to Rainy Days and Mondays by The Carpenters while my mom busied herself in the kitchen making us something delicious to eat.

Cut to Joy and I, at eighteen and seventeen years of age respectively, running out during a break from rehearsals for my first college production of The Amorous Flea and into a thunder storm. We found the biggest puddle in the parking lot and dove into it with abandon. It was filthy but we rolled and splashed about laughing our silly young asses off. We didn't care that we had to be back inside in a few minutes.

And there I was at nineteen attending my first concert in Central Park for the now infamous Diana Ross fiasco to raise money for a playground. I had camped out all day with my friends Dana and Eric to secure a spot, but before the show started the skies opened up. A mass of fans pushed forward trampling our blanket but not our spirits. Miss Ross came out and thanked us for sticking around. Loud applause. She sang a few numbers while her hot pink leotard increasingly clung to her with each falling raindrop. When the cats and dogs could no longer be ignored she sent us cautiously on our way. We walked all the way back to Penn Station arriving soaked to the bone. We were drenched and cold, due to the air conditioning on the train, but knowing that I had a hot shower and a warm bed waiting for me make it all worth it.

Jump forward to Mike and I getting caught in a sudden summer shower while riding our bikes on the tow path. Our back tires were kicking up mud so our backs were covered with dirt. We were still a long way from home but we swerved around the newly formed puddles making a valiant effort to slip between the raindrops. Until it hit us that we should simply enjoy the moment. Before we arrived at our destination the rain had stopped and we were treated to the always amazing, always beautiful sight of a rainbow.

I was in my 30s before I understood why anyone would even own an umbrella. Those useless, annoying contraptions that cause more trouble than they are worth. But, I grew up. I felt pressure. I had places to go and people to see, and I didn't want to go there or see them with wet socks and heavy clothes. So I got an umbrella. I ran through the rain and avoided puddles.

As I felt the rain hit my face the other night I made a conscious decision to slow down, breath and really feel it. Feel the dampness on my white dress shirt, feel it stick to my body, feel the water run down my back. Of course, I knew I was about to get in my car and go home to change so it was no big deal.

The point is to hold onto that feeling. That beautifully alive feeling of standing in a storm with your arms outstretched. Just taking a moment to slow down and remember what it was like to spend the day coloring while mom took care of the rest.

21 comments:

Dumdad said...

I, too, like Dancing in the Rain!

Mikey T said...

it's raining here too...

serendipity...

you know my thoughts about the rain.

They never waver.

lettuce said...

your blog always makes me feel better, thanks gary.

:oD

Joy said...

17 and 18 respectively. which was what? 2 years ago? :)

lettuce said...

gary, if I was to download one Linda Ronstadt album, which would you recommend? (needn't be the last as well as the first, of course....)


btw. love your featured artwork at the mo. Mr. Fantastic?

Gary said...

Lettuce - How about "Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind" from 1989. It was Linda's return to form and such a great album. If you want something older from the 70s either go with Greatest Hits Volume One for the hits (natch) or Heart Like a Wheel. I love answering this type of question!

I am not sure what the artwork is but I just love it.

kimy said...

i too love the rain, used to say 'rain was my favorite season'...have you stumbled on the quote "some people walk in the rain, others just get wet" gary I know you walk in the rain! ditto to lettuce's comment - thanks for making us feel better.

Florecita said...

I remember when I was a child sliding in the porch at my parents, singing while the I was taking a bath with the rain... and you know what Gary? I also have an umbrella that's always in my car "Horacio", sometimes I take it with me but didnt open it... just to get the water blessings and feel I am alive!!

lorraine said...

Hi Gary,

I am at the airport waiting for my flight back to Melbourne and visited your website. It's FANTASTIC.

You know I have been thinking about going back into the classroom to work when I'm in Australia and reading your blog has made me decide that is exactly what i am going to do. You reminded me of how being in a classroom grounds me. Reading your comments about watching students learn how to write reminded me of how I LOVE that as well. I get a tightening in my chest when I think about those little people learning to read and write and make sense of their world.

My flight awaits!
Take Care
lorraine

Mikey T said...

lettuce, i agree with gary. cry like a rainstorm is such a good album!!

here's the link to buy it at amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Cry-Like-Rainstorm-Howl-Wind/dp/B000002H7E/ref=sr_1_1/002-5735658-2251236?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1192381926&sr=8-1

(then make sure you get Tina Turner's
Foreign Affair or Wildest Dreams too!)

Gary said...

DD - "and singing in the rain..."

Mike - I know exactly how you feel about the rain and don't think that the connection was lost on me. Next time you are out I propose we get drenched!

Lettuce - Likewise, no pressure though.

Joy - It does seem hard to believe that that was already 15 years ago but time flies quickly paley.

Kim - Well, sometimes I get wet, very wet (I am speaking metaphorically of course but literally as well). And ditto to my likewise. :)

Florecita - I do the same thing. I will take my umbrella out of my bag but walk around with it unopened while the rain falls. Mostly that works for a light rain when I have to get to work but when when it is really coming down I have to give in.

Water blessings...I like that.

Lorriane - Your comment brought a "tightening in my chest" as well. I take it that this is a good thing and not an indicator of a serious medical condition.

Mike - You are as bad with pushing Tina as I am with Linda. However, I noticed that Linda is not mentioned under your favorite music. I'll add yours if you add mine...

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I can love rain, but the patterns in northern California have taken me 10 years to adjust to -- 9 months and barely and inch, then 3 months of nothing but. And I have seen lightning twice in 12 years. Some things are better in the Midwest.

Salty Miss Jill said...

:)!

You write the sweetest posts. They suck all the saltiness right out of me!

Reya Mellicker said...

Please oh please oh please blow some rain in our direction?

It was great to hear your voice on my vm btw. It took me all this time to figure out it was you ... cell phone messages sometimes come through with auditory distortions. I kept listening to it over and over, finally realized, it's GARY!!

I miss you!

Joy said...

15 years. THIS is why I love you.

Arielle said...

I love how something like rain can stimulate such nostalgia. Sometimes the greatest part of a day can be slowing down and taking in what is coming down (literally). The rain will always be here, to remind us of old memories and to help us create new ones. Thanks for your post. :)

Arielle

lettuce said...

just about to download Cry like a rainstorm.
Thanks for the link mikey.
I will give Tina due consideration.......

Gary said...

Lettuce - I am listening to it right now. I am going through a "Still Within the Sound of my Voice" phase. Hope you enjoy it!! Let me know.

la bellina mammina said...

What a beautiful rainbow!

I love the rain too - especially when I'm home. I love to hear it falling hard on the grass, the smell, how cool the air gets...
And if it rains in the middle of the night, and I'm awaken by it, I love to open the window and listen to it, just enjoying the solitude...

MONA said...

I love to soak in the rain whenever I get a chance. I drench to my bones up on my roof in the nights of rain!
I LOVE rain!

Steve said...

Bravo! I'm always walking around with umbrella at the ready -- and you've made a great case for not doing that!

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