Oh my, the rain! I dashed from the ferry terminal to my car through lashing rain which, against the laws of physics, seemed to be beating against me from all directions at once. I was grateful for my waterproof jacket, but in just a short distance my shoes and trousers were soaked and were now steaming thanks to the car’s heater which I’d turned up full blast. I was feeling a bit grumpy about this turn in the weather and my general state of dampness. Then I saw a family hurrying along the pavement towards their own car, the parents with pinched looks on their faces as water streamed down their cheeks and eyelashes. All they could think about, like me a few moments earlier, was getting into the shelter of the vehicle as quickly as possible. Except for the child – a little one about 3 years old, I suppose. Sporting a wee pair of wellies, he was deliberately splashing each footstep into puddles, and raising his face to the wild rain with a look of sheer unalloyed joy. For us adults, the weather was simply a cause for annoyance and stress, but for this child it was a great chance to have an elemental experience of something beyond ordinary life, to find happiness in the wildness of it all.
How is it, as adults, we so often attach how we feel to trying to make things more comfortable and not at all inconvenient in any way? So often we attempt to insulate ourselves from anything wild or elemental. Of course, children like comfort as well, and heaven knows kids have opinions about how things should be! But so often you won’t find them worrying much about getting wet, or dirty, or a little scuffed up – in fact, they often find that these things are where all the fun is. Would I have dropped a feeling of stress from my body and spirit if I had, instead, laughed during my passage through the rain and lifted my face to this precious life-giving water? After all, I would be dry again in a bit – but perhaps I had neglected to allow a few moments of real joy into my life.
It’s raining again right now. I think I might just go for a walk.