Last night it rained. I was hanging out with a friend who gets very excited by the rain and who had a very good time just running around in the rain for a couple of hours while I stayed indoors and dry, watching HBO original series with my new stuffed monkey, Edison. At one point, she got me up and dragged me out into the rain. As a general rule, I like the rain.
Or maybe I like the idea of the rain. I don’t seem to like riding my bicycle in the rain, or immediately after a hard rain on an overcast day. Being soaking wet and freezing cold for nine hours at work isn’t what I put at the top of my list of things to do. The things in my backpack tend to agree. Still, I like the smell of rain, and I certainly appreciated the sub-100 degree weather this morning on the bike ride in. Sometimes I like to watch the rain fall, but not usually from under it. Usually from someplace dry and warm. I like what rain does; living in a barren, dead wasteland only has a little appeal to me. Still, I like blue skies.
Anyway, so she got me to follow her out into the rain, and for the first time I can remember, it was raining, and I couldn’t equate it with tears. Many people who have known me for long are aware that I express that the rain pouring down is just the weight of tears that my body could not cry on its own. That a storm is my sadness made real and to scale and the rain is my tears, falling down all over everything around me as they fall also from my eyes and through my being. It is a powerful image that I know I am not alone in using, and I have seen that as true for as long as I can recall. I have even had the occasion to not realize I was sad until I noticed it was raining, and upon seeing “my tears” begin that awful sucking, sinking inside, and powerful sobbing outside. Like not knowing you’ve cut yourself until you see the blood.
Last night was not like that. I knew the storm was coming, and thought that it was odd, because I felt alright. Then it started raining, but I was inside so it didn’t hit me that I still felt alright. Then when I went out into the rain and could feel the water hitting me and soaking me and see it dripping from the trees and flowing down the streets, I really began to identify that I was alright. I wasn’t crying. These weren’t my tears, raining down from above because my pain was to great too great to be expressed by my own water. This was just rain. A sky so full of clouds that it was a strange, glowing purple hue from horizon to horizon, pouring down a cool shower all across the land.
My heart felt light. Not uncommonly so, but uncommon for rain. Usually the metaphor of tears is explained even further by the weight of my heart being so great that it pulls the very clouds down from the sky. Sometimes I would wonder why the roof didn’t cavein from the weight of my heart pulling down on it. Last night, I just felt … alright. No extra weight. Just a pleasant feeling. Everything was okay, and I felt okay, and it happened to be raining. That felt good.
Almost immediately after this, I felt something else. Shivering. Unlike certain young people who can frolic in the pouring rain, jumping from puddle to puddle in soaking wet clothes in the middle of the night, I was cold and shivering almost immediately. Luckily, despite my apparent willingness to stand outside and enjoy the rain with her, she noticed that I was shivering and allowed me to go inside and dry off and get warmed up again. So, my little rain-related epiphany (“Hey! It’s just rain!”) only lasted a brief moment, but … it was there. It was the first time I can remember rain just being rain.