day two: sitting in the rain

I love the rain. I really do. I know a lot of people say that, but then three days of drizzle later and they’re begging for just a few measly rays of sunshine. I’m okay with the rain. I made peace with it three years ago while I was living in England. It helped, I suppose, that I went into it with an open and willing mind – I loved the rain, and knew what to expect. But still, a year in soggy Yorkshire changes a person. I think you either come out fearful of even the slightest hint of grey, or you love it. I not only welcome the rain, I hope for it, for a lot of reasons. Sure, after three weeks of solid downpour I’m as ready as the next gal for dry socks and a little vitamin D. But it takes me longer than most people I know to reach that breaking point. It’s been raining in Calgary for a few days now and while my friends, family and coworkers are propositioning the gods for a day of sun to break up the dreary, I’m content.

Research Park, May 26, 2011

I’ve loved the rain for as long as I can remember. I’ve been asthmatic my entire life and when I was young, and would wake up gasping in the middle of the night, rainy days were the only days when the air felt truly fresh and invigorating. My mother would wrap me in a blanket and sit with me on the porch, listening to the falling droplets until my medication kicked in and my breathing evened out. I love to walk in the rain, breathe the rain, taste the rain. I love the sound of raindrops striking the ground; the clean, crisp smell; even the roiling, grey clouds. In England, I learned quickly that the reason most locals don’t carry an umbrella is because a) it’s useless – you’re going to get wet whatever you do, and in Yorkshire, the wind kicks the water up around your legs until there isn’t a spot of you that’s dry, and b) because they’ve made peace with it. Just like we Canadians (sometimes grudgingly) accept the bitter cold each year, the English have come to terms with the rain.

There’s a prayer I’ve heard from time-to-time over the years:

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

I think that once you accept that you can’t change the rain, the cold, or your shoe size, it becomes part of you. Not just that it’s easier to bear somehow, but that it just is.

I didn’t actually mean for this to become a meditation on acceptance, but it worked out a bit nicely, didn’t it?! And now that I’ve reached this conclusion, I’m struggling to remember what my original point for this post was. Yes, I love the rain. No, I didn’t expect to explore the importance of my need to make peace with things I cannot change. Yes, I had envisioned something entirely different when I sat down to write. No, I don’t mind that my intended direction was washed away revealing this one. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes, I think, you plan to do something, go somewhere, be someone, and the path changes it.

So today I took my usual walk outside to a little nearby park to sit in the rain, where I could quiet my mind for a few minutes and inhale the sweet, thick scent of ozone and damp grass. As happens quite often, I went looking for one thing – peace, calm and relaxation through sitting – and found something else entirely: the realization that serenity is within my reach. I just have to let the rain fall.


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