It’s chilly and rainy in my corner of the universe today. Over the years, I have come to understand that most people don’t enjoy this kind of weather. Most people love for their days to be sunny and bright all the time. And many people I know absolutely love the heat of Spring and Summer.
I’m a bit of an oddball. This statement holds true in so many ways, but it is particularly true with respect to my weather preferences. There are few things I love more than a chilly and rainy day. I love the brisk, clean feeling of “wet” in the air. This isn’t the heavy, overpoweringly humid dampness of a hot and muggy Summer day. This kind of “wet” moves through the air on the breeze, leaving me feeling refreshed and renewed. I love the way the murky light plays over wet streets and sidewalks, painting abstract pictures of reflections in muted palettes of sky blues, mossy greens, and soft gray-silvers. I love the way the sidewalks and streets seem deserted, except for that one intrepid person I inevitably see walking beneath the shelter of a bright red or pink umbrella. I love how my shoes make little splish-splash sounds as I walk, making sure I manage to tread through at least a few puddles along the way. I particularly love it when I am the lone, intrepid soul out there braving the misty weather as I shelter under my favorite umbrella, which has pictures of cats and dogs on it. (Get it? “Raining cats and dogs” … I know. It’s cheesy, but it always makes me laugh.)
Rainy days have always had a holiday flavor for me, even when I was a kid. Perhaps this is because I grew up in South Texas, which is full of scorpions and snakes and hot and sun, and not so full of rain. In my childhood, rain felt like the most fantastic thing — as if the universe had bestowed its most amazing treasure on us. I grew up in a tiny house in the middle of nowhere. Our house was up on a little hill, so we had a great view of a valley laid out before us. I remember sitting on our front porch on those rare, rainy days and watching the storms sweep across the valley. You could follow the line of rain and clouds clearly, from start to finish. It was frightfully beautiful and powerful, and it remains one of my favorite memories, even today.
Sometimes, though, the best part of a stormy day was being out and about after the rain was done. I would wander around our property, my old dog at my heels and at least one or two cats trailing along behind, just to see whatever I could see. My favorite thing was the way the raindrops balanced on the slender stalks of grass in the field in front of our house, bowing their heads and dressing them like shining jewels. The light would peer through the clouds, hitting each drop just right and giving them a silvery shimmer. Sometimes, if I looked at just the right angle, I could see a little rainbow, deep down inside some of the drops. I sat in the field, surrounded by gilded stalks of grass, and imagined each drop held a little world, all its own. I would picture whimsical, towering cities and fields of green topped by rainbows and charming cottages, all glistening and happy beneath a silver sky. I used to think it would be wonderfully amazing to live within a raindrop. A small world, perhaps, but unequaled for beauty and elegance.
It was … magic. There’s no other way to describe it. I still carry those memories with me. In the years that have come and gone, I have seen things that are bigger and more impressive and more important. But I have seldom seen anything to equal the quiet beauty of raindrops shimmering in the watery light left after the rain has gone. It still takes my breath away, just a little bit, every time.
Today, as our first round of showers ended, I happily grabbed my camera and headed outside. I found the weak light dancing over the raindrops mounded up on my rose bushes, like the pearls of nature’s necklace. I snapped my pictures, and I wondered, just for a moment, what it would be like to live inside a raindrop — glistening and happy beneath a silvery sky.