Three out of four of the walking members of our household now own rain gear – specifically, rain boots.
So now, when it rains or a storm blows through, we three gear up and head out, not in. We put on our coats and boots and zip-up, not minding that by the end of our walk we’re likely to be wet through regardless. We stomp with exaggerated steps and point exuberantly at the river running in our street. We spy a drowned bee and mourn his demise (while also feeling relief that there’s one less stinger to fear).
The street and sidewalks are quiet, save for the rain and the sound of cars splashing by. My husband sits on the porch with the twins. Poor bootless man, we pity him.
Now, pretty much every time it rains my son asks with exuberance, “Mom, can I go out?” And I see no reason to say no.
The rains came again during my parent’s recent visit. The kids pulled on their boots and were out in a flash, marveling at the puddles, shouting and exclaiming at the wonder of it all in voices drowned out by the downpour. They stomped and splashed with great intensity and focus. Walking in water, making mighty splashes, is serious business.
My dad said, watching from the porch, “I remember doing that as a kid, but I don’t know why.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. He said, “I remember splashing in puddles, but I don’t know why I did it.”
“Because it’s fun,” is my reply.
And in my mind I think, for joy.
How many things do we do for joy any more? We do things for productivity and hope for joy as a bi-product, a happy bonus. But what if we, on occasion at least, switched our priorities?
Movies often mark a plot’s turn toward redemption with a rain storm or some other form of literal or figurative baptism. It’s common enough that I now know to look for it, the moment of grace that makes way for joy breaking through, like sun rays bursting through the clouds.
My kids and I are afraid sometimes on our rain walks, with thunder and lightening doing their bone-jarring call and response. I know it’s a little foolish to be out. But if there’s a rainbow or a waterlogged bee floating by, we’ll be the first to see it. And when we come back dripping with joy I know it’s been a moment of transformation for each of us.